Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Hypolytrum nemorum (Vahl) Spreng.

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Female flowers. © Barry Jago
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, hypogeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Sprengel, C.P.J. (1824) Systema Vegetabilium 1 : 233.


Can grow as a herb but usually flowers and fruits as a plant more than 1 m tall.


Leaf blades strap-like, up to 100 cm or more long, +/- M-shaped in transverse section. Leaf blade margin and midrib (on the underside of the leaf blade) finely toothed. Outer two main longitudinal veins raised on the upper surface.


Flowers produced in short spikes, about 5-8 mm long, in a panicle. Flowers enclosed in brown bracts.


Nuts up to 3 mm long. Pericarp thick and hard. Embryo minute, globular.


One or two scale-like cataphylls produced before the first true leaves. First true leaves linear, about 7-14 x 1 mm, longitudinally veined and the bases clasp the stem. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves linear, channelled on the upper surface, bases clasping one another forming a triangular sectioned leafy stem. Venation longitudinal and parallel. Leaf blade margins and midrib (on the underside) beset with small tooth-like hairs. Seed germination time 60 to 221 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 200 m. Grows in swampy areas in rain forest and gallery forest or close to water in riparian forest. Also occurs in Asia and Malesia.

Natural History & Notes

Makes an attractive pot or garden plant and will grow well in shady conditions.

Hypolytrum nemorum (Vahl) Spreng. var. nemorum, Flora Malesiana Series I : 491(1974). Schoenus nemorum Vahl., Symb. Bot. 3: 8(1794).
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