Seeds of South Australia
Cymbopogon ambiguus (Gramineae)
Scented Lemon Grass
List of species for Cymbopogon
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Seed collecting:
January to December
Herbarium regions:
North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)Kanmantoo
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [undercollected; olives a threat; could be stable]
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [in Torrens Gorge, Mt Bold, along rocky drainage lines; olives a threat]
Broughton (FLB02) 
 Least Concern
Olary Spur (FLB03) 
 Least Concern
Southern Flinders (FLB04) 
 Least Concern
Northern Flinders (FLB05) 
 Least Concern
Central Flinders (FLB06) 
 Least Concern
St Vincent (EYB02)Eyre Yorke Block
 Least Concern
Murray Mallee (MDD02)Murray Darling Depression
 Vulnerable   (IUCN: VU B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv))   (Definite Decline)   [highly localised]
Braemer (MDD07) 
 Least Concern
Myall Plains (GAW01)Gawler
 Least Concern
Gawler Volcanics (GAW02) 
 Least Concern
Gawler Lakes (GAW03) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))
Arcoona Plateau (GAW04) 
 Least Concern
Kintore (GVD04)Great Victoria Desert
 Least Concern
Barrier Range (BHC01)Broken Hill Complex
 Least Concern
Bimbowrie (BHC05) 
 Least Concern
Curnamona (BHC06) 
 Least Concern
Breakaways (STP01)Stony Plains
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [in low granite hills]
Murnpeowie (STP03) 
 Least Concern   [in creeklines]
Peake-Dennison Inlier (STP04) 
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Lake Pure (CHC07)Channel Country
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))
Mann-Musgrave Block (CER01)Central Ranges
 Least Concern
Watarru (CER02) 
 Least Concern
Everard Block (CER03) 
 Least Concern
IBRA regions
Fleurieu (KAN02)KanmantooRare
  (IUCN: RA d(i,ii))   [undercollected; olives a threat; could be stable]
6 of 6 subregionsFlinders Lofty BlockLeast Concern
, Rare
St Vincent (EYB02)Eyre Yorke BlockLeast Concern
2 of 6 subregionsMurray Darling DepressionLeast Concern
, Vulnerable
4 of 8 subregionsGawlerLeast Concern
, Rare
Kintore (GVD04)Great Victoria DesertLeast Concern
3 of 4 subregionsBroken Hill ComplexLeast Concern
3 of 7 subregionsStony PlainsLeast Concern
, Rare
Lake Pure (CHC07)Channel CountryRare
  (IUCN: RA d(ii))
3 of 3 subregionsCentral RangesLeast Concern
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Cymbopogon]
Name derivation:
Cymbopogon from the Greek 'kymbe' meaning a boat and 'pogon' meaning a beard; alluding to the boat-shaped spatheoles subtending the hairy racemes. Ambiguus from the Latin 'ambiguus' meaning uncertain, doubtful.
Found mainly in the northern part of South Australia with disjunct distribution in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing near watercourses. Also found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.
Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
A handsome scented grass, 30 cm to 2 m high. Leaf blades filiform, with long narrow points, ligule long, glabrous, nodes glabrous. Flower-spike a racemes with twin or rarely 3 together, emerging from a sheathing bract about as long as them, 2-2.5 cm long, densely silky-villous owing to the long hairs arising from the pedicels and articles of the rhachis, erect or the lower ones sometimes spreading, forming together a narrow panicle; first glume of fertile spikelet glabrous, acute, c. 5 mm long, 3-5-nerved between the keels, second glume also glabrous, prominently 1-keeled; awn slender, c. 1.5 cm long. Flowers all year round.
Fruit type:
Fertile lemma without keel. Lemma apex lobed, awned, 1 -awned. Median (principal) awn from a sinus,
12–20 mm long overall, with a twisted column. Palea absent. Anthers 3. Grain 2
mm long.
Seed type:
Yellow grain to 2.5 mm long.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Use hands to gently strip seeds off the mature seed spike that are fluffy from the hairs and turning straw colour. Mature seeds will come off easily. Alternatively, you can break off the whole seed spike.
Seed cleaning:
Place the seeds/spike in a tray and leave to dry for two weeks. No further cleaning is required if only seed collected. If seed spikes collected, use hand to strip off the mature seeds. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.
Seed viability:
From two collections, the seed viability were average to high, ranging from 75% to 88%.
Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
4200 (10.5 g)
4500 (11.05 g)
1457-Dec-2004PJA 94
Flinders Ranges
BGA114600 (249.14 g)100+30-Dec-2005KHB029
Flinders Ranges
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.