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Natural populations

Lepidosperma longitudinale is a sedge up to 2 m tall found extensively along the eastern and southern coastlines from Queensland to South Australia, with a disjunct population in south-west Western Australia. It occurs in salty estuarine rivers, swamps and wet heath on the coastal plains, and up valley creek lines to springs on hillsides and damp pockets in granite outcrops. A taxonomic treatment of the genus Lepidosperma is currently in review as part of the Flora of Australia series. Molecular studies on all taxa in the genus are being conducted, with results of the genetic testing between the east and west populations of Lepidosperma longitudinale expected to be published soon [Russell Barrett, Kings Park and Botanic Gardens Perth, Western Australia, pers. comm., 2008].

Flowering and seeds

This plant produces flowers and fruits mainly in the summer months. In general, wetland sedges and rushes can be propagated using the bog method [107]. It is reputed as very difficult to grow from seed and a combined heat-smoke treatment may be worth trying [88].

Cultivation and uses

This species provides important habitat for water birds.

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 550-2300 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 8-18 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 18-30 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 0-14 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free
Altitude: 0-700 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be drought sensitive
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5)
Soil depth: moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: seasonally waterlogged
Tolerance of adverse soils
Soil waterlogging tolerance: up to or greater than 2 months
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: sedge
Longevity: short-lived less than 15 years
Growth rate: fast
Root system: shallow and spreading
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight

References

[88] Understorey Network Plant Database (2006) (Online  http://www.understorey-network.org.au/index.html Accessed: February 2008).

[107] Romanski N (1998) Planting wetlands and dams – a practical guide to wetland design, construction and propagation. UNSW Press, Sydney.

Internet links

FloraBase Western Australia Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/937

Plantnet NSW Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Lepidosperma~longitudinale

South Australia Flora Online – species description & distribution: http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/cgi-bin/texhtml.cgi?form=speciesfacts&family=Cyperaceae&genus=Lepidosperma&species=longitudinale

Tasmanian Understorey Network: http://www.understorey-network.org.au/search.html?fSearch/1076

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