Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Cymbopogon ambiguus (Hack.) A.Camus

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Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Inflorescence. © R.L. Barrett
Inflorescence. © R.L. Barrett
Leaf ligule. © R.L. Barrett
Habit. © R.L. Barrett
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Camus, A.A. (1921) Revue de Botanique Appliquée 1: 290.

Common name

Scent grass; Lemon grass


Caespitose perennial to 2 m high, lemon-scented when crushed.


Lower leaves with sheath persistent; sheath glabrous or obscurely villous, prominently veined; ligule 2-9 mm long, jagged; blade folded, c. 1 mm wide, glaucous. Dry leaves turn purplish brown.


Panicle 20-80 cm long; spathes 15-40 cm long. Racemes erect or slightly divergent, 15-25 mm long, ± densely villous; joints and pedicels densely villous with hairs to 4 mm long. Sessile spikelets 6-7 mm long; callus with hairs to 1.5 mm long. Lower glume 7-9-nerved, glabrous; upper glume subequal to the upper glume. Lower lemma a little shorter, obscurely 2-nerved; upper lemma sub-stipe-like, 2-lobed, awned between the lobes; awn 12-15 mm long. Pedicellate spikelets c. 3.5 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, with a 9-nerved lower glume and very small upper glume, or upper glume absent.


Caryopsis oblanceolate, subterete, ca. 2 x 1 mm, with adherent pericarp. Testa smooth and glossy, orange-brown


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and widespread in the rest of Australia. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in edges of rainforest, in Eucalypt forest, vine thickets, various types of woodland and in wooded grassland. Usually grows near watercourses. Also known from a few records in Timor.

Andropogon exaltatus var. ambiguus Hack., Monographiae Phanerogamarum 6: 596(1889).
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