Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Philydrum lanuginosum Banks ex Gaertn.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
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Flowers. CC-BY F. Zich
Habit. CC-BY F. Zich
Herbarium specimen. © CSIRO

Gaertner, J. (1788) De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum 1: 62. Type: Queensland, Endeavour River, leg. J. Banks et D. Solander (17.VI. 4.VIII.1770). (BM).

Common name



Tufted aquatic herbs up to 1 m tall with a short rhizome and fibrous roots.


Basal leaves 12-25, densely rosulate, 30-80 cm including sheath 1-1.5 cm × 2-3.5 mm; lamina thick and soft, veins 7-9, apex tapering. Cauline leaves usually 2 or 3. Lamina sheath 30-40 mm long.


Flowering stem scapose, slender, terete, up to 1m tall, glabrescent proximally, villous toward inflorescence. Spikes simple, sometimes branched, woolly; bracts large and conspicuous, ovate, 2-7 × 0.7-1 cm, abaxially woolly, apex abruptly acuminate and subulate. Outer 2 perianth segments subovate, 8-10 mm, abaxially woolly, base with 2 strong veins, margin undulate, apex acute; inner 2 segments smaller than outer 2, spatulate, membranous, veins 3, base adnate to filament for 1-2 mm, apex acute. Stamen 6-9 mm, glabrous; filament flattened; anther subglobose, cochleate. Ovary 6-7 mm, densely long woolly. Style 3-4 mm, glabrous; stigma dark reddish, capitate, 0.7-0.9 mm, long papillose.


Capsule triangular-oblong, 9-10 x 4-5 mm, hairy, with a persistent style. Seeds many, dark reddish, bulb-shaped, 0.8-0.9 x 0.3-0.4 mm, with twisted rows of papillae.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to Victoria. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 650 m. Grows as an aquatic macrophyte in swampy areas and in stream beds in rainforest, Melaleuca swamp, Eucalypt forest, various types of woodland and heathland. Also occurs in India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands.

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