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Spiny headed Mat-rush

BSA Plant Guide

Spiny Headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)

Family: Asparagaceae (syn. Xanthorrhoeaceae)

Size: 0.5 – 1m

Description: Dense clumping tussock

Habitat: Common and widespread along watercourses, rainforest edges, damp forests but also found in drier forests and woodland.

Foliage: Strap like glossy dark green leaves 1.3m x 10mm.

Flowers: Male and female creamy coloured whorled flower clusters on slightly flattened branched spiny flower spikes, occur on separate plants and appear in spring.

Fruit & seeds: Immature seeds on female seed spikes are green and turn yellow when they ripen (December-January).

Roots: Thick and fibrous with long blade like leaves emanating from them.

Distribution: Coastal ranges of TAS, VIC, NSW, SA and QLD.

Uses: Edible white leaf bases that taste like raw peas (softest from the central clumps) – male and female flowers can be eaten raw – the ripe yellow mature seeds are edible but are extremely hard and difficult to process – the green seeds have a nice nutty taste and are easier to process but still quite labour intensive (grain removed from husks, roasted and eaten) – nectar collected from female flowers – the leaves can be used to make baskets, eel traps and fibres for cordage (leaves shrink and curl inwards once harvested) – dead leaves buffed up make very good tinder for fire lighting.

Medicinal: Traditionally roots were crushed and made into a poultice to be used on ant stings.

Spiny Headed Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Seeds of Spiny Headed Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Seeds of Spiny Headed Mat Rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Edible leaf base
Distribution of Lomandra longifolia in Australia