A long-leaved clumping grass-like plant.
This Lomandra has a widespread distribution – found in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and also in Papua New Guinea.
In NSW, it grows in a range of habitats, from the coast to the far inland and is variable in leaf width. It is often found in dry sclerophyll forest and woodland as well as rocky shrublands, heathland and grasslands. It is often found on sandy soils but also heavier soils.
Lomandra are often referred to as “grasses” but they are not. They are a monocotyledonous plant – and are broadly related to plants like Vanilla and Chocolate Lillies (Arthropodium spp.), Fringe Lillies (Thysanotus spp.) and Asparagus spp. (This Editor assists people by advising to consider them a native version of a Clivia or Agapanthus – not too distantly related).
Lomandra spp. have simple and long leaves (“strappy”), usually linear and forming a clump on a contracted rhizome. This species has variable leaves to 90 cm long and 0.3 cm wide (sometimes very narrow), dark green with purple colouring at times, and with undivided (or entire) apices. The leaves also have longitudinal striations.
Lomandra spp. have male and female flowers on separate plants (a term called dioecious meaning “two houses”). Flowers have six “tepals” (3 petals and 3 sepals but difficult to tell which are which – a typical “lily” feature).
In this species, the inflorescences are a strong identification feature with narrow male and female flowers produced in similar arrangements of numerous whorled-clusters or heads, about 3 cm across and 1 cm wide, with each head separated along a single branch or branched structure; yellow-brown in colour.
Lomandra spp. produce a capsule. In this species, they are about 5 to 10 mm long, containing a single seed about 5 mm long.
I have been growing Lomandra multiflora in my garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh for many years.
My plant is growing in a thin layer of topsoil over a clay sub soil and receive little additional watering once they were established. I like this plant for two reasons, its new leaf and flowers growth has a purplish tinge to it and when the flowers open they are a lovely cream colour. They grow well in full sun or partial shade. I suspect my plant would flower much more spectacularly if I transplanted it to a position in my garden that is not as dry as where it is currently growing.
I must pluck up courage to move it and divide it into two plants at the same time. Another alternative for me is to raise some more plants from seed as my research indicates it can be easily propagated from seed. The seed needs to be sown soon after collection and germination takes 8-10 weeks.
It can be difficult to establish but is well worth a try. Provide good drainage.
From seed likely works best. Plants can be divided in Autumn with divisions cut back and transplanted. Provide adequate water for a few weeks afterwards.
All plants in NSW are recognised as subsp. multiflora. The other subspecies is L. multiflora subsp. dura and it differs in the flowers being more of less hidden in hard bracts. This subspecies is restricted to South Australia.
Lomandra is a genus of about 50 species, 48 of which are endemic to Australia. Only a few are common in cultivation and more species deserve to be trialled. NSW currently has about 23 species with some species-complexes.
Most Lomandra species can regenerate readily after fire, either from seed or reshooting from the rhizome.
Lomandra – from the Ancient Greek Loma (λῶμα) meaning a hem or fringe or edge/border and andras (άνδρας) meaning “man” or “male” because of the circular border of tissue around the anthers of some species.
multiflora — from Latin multi meaning “many” and flora “flowers”, referring to the flowering habit of the plant.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Lomandra multiflora profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Lomandra~multiflora
Australian Native Plants Society Australia – Lomandra multiflora profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/lomandra-multiflora/
Greening Australia – Florabank – Lomandra multiflora factsheet https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FACT-SHEET_Lomandra_multiflora.pdf