A cultivated Lomandra – said to be a narrow-leaved form of L. longifolia.
There is some misapplication of names surrounding it: Its registered cultivar name is Lomandra ‘LM300’ and it is sold as Tanika Lomandra or Lomandra Tanika (however, this is not its correct cultivar name).
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 cultivar has leaves to 90 cm long and 0.2 cm wide, dark green with purple colouring at times, and with toothed (or entire) apices.
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 cultivar, spikes of flowers are produced within the foliage, interspersed with long spiky bracts, sometimes smelling of acetone or banana, light to deep yellow with brown bases.
Lomandra produce a capsule. In this cultivar, they are about 5 to 10 mm long by 5 mm wide.
I have been growing Tanika Lomandra in my garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh for many years.
My plants are growing in a thin layer of topsoil over a clay sub soil and receive little additional watering once they were established.
The label attached to Lomandra Tanika advises it grows to 60 cm high and 60 cm wide. However many of my plants are now double that size. I suspect this larger size is due to the heavier than normal rainfall Sydney periodically receives.
My original idea, when I planted them was to mix them with a planting of native grasses (Poa species) to form a grassland meadow in my front yard, to replace a poorly performing lawn. This has worked well, although now that the plantings are mature, I realise that I should have planted them a bit further apart, to make a more open effect and mimic what happens in nature.
Tanika Lomandra is a versatile plant that grows well in full sun and moderate to heavy shaded positions, will tolerate windy and salt laden positions. It is advisable to keep new plants moist for the first few months until they establish. From then on, they will need no additional watering. However, in my experience they will grow much better if given some supplementary water in prolonged hot weather.
Care and Fertilising: Tanika Lomandra do not need pruning, however if they becoming too large, they can be reduced in size by cutting back the foliage to 15 cm above the ground. As with any other plant, it is best to avoid trimming or pruning in drought conditions, or in the middle of summer.
I do not fertilise my plants, but they will look a lot greener if you occasionally use a slow release native plant fertiliser in spring or autumn.
Useful to plant in spaced patches under eucalypt trees or along driveways.
Must be progagated by division to retain true-to-type features. Plants can be divided in Autumn. Divisions should be cut back to about 10 cm long and then planted with adequate water provided until they start to grow.
This has proven to be a very popular cultivar with over 1,000,000 plants reportedly sold.
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.
longifolia – Latin longi– meaning “long” and –folia meaning leaf – referring to the long leaves of the species.
Tanika – origin of this marketing name is unclear – it may refer to the Indian meaning for ‘rope’
OzBreed – Tanika Lomandra sales page https://ozbreed.com.au/plant-ranges-strappy-leaf-plants/tanika-lomandra/
Gardening with Angus – Lomandra Tanika profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/lomandra-longifolia-tanika-mat-rush/