Lepidosperma laterale R.Br.

Variable Sword-sedge

Prodr. 234 (1810) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Tufted perennial with very short rhizome. Culms rigid, erect, flat to slightly convex on one face or concavo-convex, glabrous, smooth or rarely scabrous, 30–100 cm high, 2–8 mm wide; margins scabrous or rarely smooth. Leaf-blades similar in form to culms but shorter, 3–8 mm wide; sheaths reddish or dark grey-brown at base, straw-coloured at apex, rarely all straw-coloured, not viscid, ± shining. Inflorescence ± linear in outline, erect to somewhat spreading, 4–35 cm long, 1–1.5 cm diam.; involucral bract shorter than inflorescence. Spikelets rather few, 4–8.5 mm long. Glumes 4–6, puberulous, red-brown to grey-brown, the 2–4 lowest empty, shorter than fertile glumes, acute, mucronate; fertile glumes 3.5–6.5 mm long, long-acute; hypogynous scales 6, pale brown, from one-quarter to one-third length of nut. Nut ovoid, pale brown, wrinkled to smooth, shining, 2.5–4 mm long, 1.3–2.0 mm diam. Flowers spring–summer.

Brid, CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HFE, HNF, HSF, LoM, MonT, MuM, NIS, OtP, OtR, SnM, Strz, VAlp, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Usually on sandy soils or amongst rocks, in a range of habitats, but commonly in heathy woodlands and open-forests.

Large plants with culms commonly 60 cm long or more and 6-8 mm wide, usually occurring in shaded, permanently damp sites have been referred to L. laterale var. majus. At the other end of the range of variation are small plants with narrow culms and leaves and slender inflorescences with rather distant spikelets. These have been referred to L. laterale var. angustum. As these two variants are linked by a near complete range of intermediates without any clear disjunction, no subspecific taxa are recognised. The relationships between this variable taxon and L. elatius, L. gunnii and L. curtisiae are not clear.

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.
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 laterale in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Lepidosperma laterale in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Bridgewater present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina 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
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native
Strzelecki Ranges present native
Monaro Tablelands present native
Highlands-Far East present native
Victorian Alps present native
Snowy Mountains present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory