Libertia paniculata

Distribution Map
Family: Iridaceae
Distribution: Widespread in rainforest and wet open forest on coast and adjacent ranges from south-east Queensland to eastern Victoria.
Common Name: Branching grass-flag.
Derivation of Name: Libertia; After Anne-Marie Libert, a Belgian botanist.
paniculata; From Latin panicula, a tuft or panicle and the suffix atus, possessing, referring to the much-branched flowering stems of the species.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Libertia is a genus of about 12 species, two of which occur in Australia. They are perennial herbs with grass-like leaves arising from an underground rhizome.

Libertia paniculata
Libertia paniculata
Photo: Jill Dark

Libertia paniculata has flat, linear leaves 20-60 cm long arising from a much-branched rhizome. The flowers occur on branched stems which are shorter than the leaves, each stem bearing up to 6 flowers. Flowers are white, about 15 mm in diameter and usually occur in spring and early summer. The flowers have prominent, exerted stamens.

Libertias are not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty. L.paniculata is reported to adapt well to gardens in moist, well drained soils in a protected position which is not in dense shade. The species was introduced into cultivation in England in the early 1800s.

Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment but which may be slow to germinate. Propagation by division of the rhizome is also reported to be successful.

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