Queensland Native Seeds

Cymbopogon refractus

Scientific NameCymbopogon refractus
Common Name(s)Barbed Wire Grass


Perennial, erect or ascending, warm season grass, 30 to 150cm. Nonetheless we observe this taxon most frequently at 30 to 100cm in height.


Cymbopogon refractus is frequently requested for rehabilitation work. It has very little value as fodder. In our experience it will only be eaten in drought, otherwise it is left alone and may dominate small areas of pasture. Regardless, we usually encounter it as a small, distributed component of native grasslands. The relatively small leaf blades of this Cymbopogon species emit a notable lemon fragrance when crushed. The inflorescences exhibit a striking resemblance to the barbed wire used for fencing by Australian cattlemen.

Historical Notes

The genus Cymbopogon, also includes several species, commonly referred to as Citronella Grass, Lemongrass and East Indian Grass which are cultivated for varying reasons, sometimes as culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, for use as insecticides, preservatives, disinfectants and in perfumes.


"Widespread in the Eucalyptus forests and woodlands of eastern Australia, especially on lighter soils of low fertility; rare in northern N.T." (Simon, B.K. & Alfonso, Y. 2011. Ausgrass2)

Distribution Map | Cymbopogon refractus | Queensland Native Seeds

Cymbopogon refractus | inflorescence | Queensland Native Seeds
Cymbopogon refractus | inflorescence beside actual barbed wire | Queensland Native Seeds
Cymbopogon refractus | spikelet | Queensland Native Seeds

References and Related Links

Simon, B.K. & Alfonso, Y. 2011. Ausgrass2, http://ausgrass.myspecies.info/ [Accessed on Nov 28, 2019].


Stanley, T.D. & Ross, E.M. (1989). Flora of South Eastern Queensland, Vol. 3, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.