Lepidosperma laeve R.Br.

Prodr. 235 (1810)

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Clump-forming perennial with short rhizome, or sometimes long-rhizomatous and forming extensive colonies. Culms rigid, erect, flat, or with 1 face convex and the other flat, rarely biconvex, ± striate, glabrous, smooth, 15–55 cm high, 2–4 mm wide; margins smooth, often yellowish or reddish. Leaf-blades usually slightly spreading such that each tuft is slightly fan-shaped, similar to culms in form but usually somewhat shorter, pungent, 1.5–4 mm wide; sheaths yellow-brown to dark brown, straw-coloured towards apex, occasionally slightly viscid. Inflorescence oblong to ovate in outline, erect, usually with several dense clusters with intervening rachis apparent, 3–12 cm long, 1–2 cm wide; main bract to about half the length of the inflorescence, ± pungent; involucral bracts subtending each cluster usually subequal to longer than the cluster, but often breaking by maturity. Spikelets usually numerous, 4–6 mm long; glumes 4–7, glabrous, puberulous or scaberulous, red-brown to blackish, the 2 or 3 lowest glumes empty, slightly shorter than fertile glumes, broad-acute to acute, mucronate; fertile glumes 3.5–4.5 mm long, acute to long-acute, often mucronate; hypogynous scales 6, whitish to yellowish, from one-quarter to one-half length of nut. Nut narrow-ellipsoid to ovoid, whitish to brown, smooth, shining, glabrous, 2.0–2.8 mm long (including hypogynous scales), 0.9–1.5 mm diam. Flowers spring.

CVU, DunT, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, LoM, MuM, OtP, VVP, WaP, Wim. Also SA. Occurs mostly on sandy soils of the south-west to Western Port, in woodlands and heaths, but extending inland in the west to the Big Desert. Common in the Grampians where often occurring in Red Gum woodlands where it may form extensive swards.

Formerly included in Lepidosperma congestum, but that species is now regarded as a South Australian endemic, occurring from the Eyre Peninsula to near Adelaide.

Lepidosperma hispidulum (recently segregated from L. congestum) is often coextensive with L. laeve in the western part of its range (e.g. Grampians, Little Desert), but is commoner further inland and rather rare near the coast (recorded from Lower Glenelg NP and  Cape Nelson). L. hispidulum generally has broader, more spreading leaves and culms, a less interrupted inflorescence with inconspicuous bracts above the base of the inflorescence bract, and a larger nut that is minutely hispid at the apex.

Source: Wilson, K.L. (1994). Cyperaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 2, Ferns and Allied Plants, Conifers and Monocotyledons. Inkata Press, Melbourne (as Lepidosperma congestum R.Br.).
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-06-28
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Poales
family Cyperaceae
genus Lepidosperma
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Lepidosperma laeve in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Lepidosperma laeve in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native