Barbed Wire grass

Barbed Wire grass

Scientific name Cymbopogon refractus Common name(s) Barbed Wire grass
Lemon scented grass
Turpentine grass
Synonym(s) Andropogon refractus

A long-lived perennial with warm season growth. It is most notable for its seed heads which have a barbed-wire appearance, hence the name. The branches of the seed head adopt obtuse and opposite angles and are quite distinctive. Plants are upright and non-spreading and reach from 1.2 to 1.5 m height under normal conditions. It is capable of living under very harsh conditions of drought as long as grazing is not continuous. The leaves emit a strong lemon scent when crushed.

Tolerance High drought tolerance
Low frost tolerance
Not tolerant of set stocking

Seed should be sown into a weed-free seedbed in early spring, or later with irrigation or summer rainfall. The seed is very small and is difficult to sow on its own. It should be sown blended with an inert carrier such as vermiculite. Seed should be surface sown and rubbed or rolled into the surface.

Sowing rate Sow at a rate of 5-7 kg / hectare for revegetation
Sow at a rate of 5-7 kg / hectare for pasture
Uses Landscaping
Barbed wire grass distribution map

Barbed Wire grass distribution
Australian Virtual Herbarium map where each circle indicates a point where a Barbed Wire grass plant has been found.

Barbed Wire grass grows widely across eastern Australia with a higher occurrence along the coastal areas. It is sometimes found in drier inland locations on lighter soils and stony slopes. It has become naturalised on many Pacific islands.

It is able to grow on a wide range of soils from sand to loam to clay, and is common on poor soils of low fertility. It is common in eucalyptus woodlands which receive infrequent grazing.

Barbed wire grass as a pasture

Barbed wire grass (Cymbopogon refractus)

Barbed wire grass seed heads

barbed wire grass (Cymbopogon refractus)

Barbed Wire grass seed

barbed wire grass (Cymbopogon refractus)