Libertia paniculata

Branching grass-flag

Family: Iridaceae

Libertia is a genus of about 12 species, two of which occur in Australia.

Libertia paniculata is widespread in rainforest and wet open forest on coast and adjacent ranges from south-east Queensland to eastern Victoria. The other Australian species is Libertia pulchella. They are both perennial herbs with grass-like leaves arising from an underground rhizome.

I always have a few Libertia paniculata growing in my garden as they are a great small plant, with grass like leaves, growing to about 50cms long and bearing delicate white flowers on slender stems in spring.


In the garden

They grow in most soils but flower best, in a semi shaded position where they do not dry out. In my northern Sydney’s suburbs garden, I position them where I grow my ferns and other plants that do not like too much direct sun. I do not grow and perhaps I should, the other Australian species — Libertia pulchella which has shorter leaves but longer flower stems

Maintenance: After flowering, I cut the foliage back hard, this encourages fresh new growth and also removes any old flowering stems and seed heads which can make the plant look a bit ‘scrappy’ if left on the plant.



Propagation is relatively easy from seed, which does not require any special pre-treatment, but may be slow to germinate.

Other information

Libertia; named after Anne-Marie Libert, (1782 to 1865) a Belgian botanist and self-taught mycologist who studied mosses, lichens and their unassuming relatives.

paniculata; From Latin panicula, a tuft or panicle and the suffix atus, possessing, referring to the much-branched flowering stems of the species.

By Jeff Howes