Plant Profile: Austrostipa ramosissima

I thought I’d start this plant profile adventure with what might be an obscure one for many – Austrostipa ramosissima – The Stout Bamboo Grass.

A native grass of eastern Australia, it’s home to moist areas such as river flats where it thrives but will also tolerate life in dryer habitats such as the margins of Eucalypt forests.

It can grow quite tall at about 2.5m and forms a clump, I have seen it this size in colonies around Windsor west of Sydney, though under cultivation and without irrigation it can be much smaller at 1m, as can be seen in a corner of Centennial Park in Sydney. New growth is bright green and the ‘stems’ can develop a charcoal black colour with age.

Austrostipa ramosissimaIn the garden try, it as a native alternative to Miscanthus sinensis varieties for bulk and size. It will work well contrasted with clipped shrub forms such as Westringia or Raphiolepis.

DSC_0011It can be hard to find and you certainly won’t see it in retail garden centres but an internet search is a good place to start where you could pick up seed or approach your local council nursery or state forest nursery and put in a request.

See if you can track it down and give it a go!