Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Cymbopogon obtectus


Silky Heads


This aromatic herb grows to 1 m high. The leaf blades contain aromatic oils and can be narrow, flat or folded. Flower heads, appearing in summer, look shaggy, having long fluffy hairs. Cymbopogon species include the Asian lemon grasses, which are used as spices and teas.

Where it is found

The plant is widespread near watercourses across mainland Australia. In New South Wales, Silky Heads are found on the north coast, tablelands, slopes and plains, central slopes and southern plains.


  • Traditional Bush Medicines (1988) describes the preparation of medicine by chopping the aromatic leaves finely and boiling them for 5 to 10 minutes in a litre of water. The resulting yellow-green liquid is drunk as often as needed to relieve coughs and colds. The liquid can also be used as a liniment for sore muscles or headaches, and as an antiseptic to treat sores.
  • The leaves can be rubbed into a ball and placed in the nostrils to relieve colds.
  • A liquid made from the root can be poured into the ear to relieve earaches.

Further information

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Cymbopogon obtectus
The leaves and roots of Silky Heads (Cymbopogon obtectus) are used for medicines. The leaves contain aromatic oils.

Cymbopogon obtectus: habit