[Front Page] [Features] [Departments] [Society Home] [Subscribe]
Grevilleas for Cultivation
I was brought up with exposure to the sandy soils of Frankston and the clay soils of Wandin and at an early age my great interest in birds, led me to noticing grevilleas, as this is a genus which is great to attract them. As I grew up and met with people like Rodger Elliot, Bill Molyneux, Merve Hodge and Peter Olde my interest developed into a passion for these beautiful plants, not only in growing and propagating them but lecturing, speaking and writing about them.
The revision of the genus Grevillea by McGilIivray and the further research by myself and Peter Olde has now resulted in over 350 species, or around 400 taxa (species and subspecies) being included in "The Grevillea Book" Volumes 1-3. The hundreds of hybrids and cultivars will appear in Volume 4.
The following are a selection of the species that I have photographed and speak about when I visit District Groups. They are just a few of the excellent species that should be more widely grown than they are at present.
G.buxifolia attracts butterflies but is not common now in cultivation. It has grey "spider" flowers with a beaut perfume.
G.speciosa attracts birds and is also not common now in cultivation. It features massed showy red flowers.
G.acanthifolia, which thrives in swamps and has been shown to be Phytophera resistant. It has pink/mauve, toothbrush flowers.
G.alpina This is a gem of a plant, but sadly known to be a "drop dead" species. It has great variations in colour - red and orange from the Grampians, pink, gold, red or cream from the Victorian Goldfields area. The Warby Range yellow or orange form which grows to 3 metres in height is also most attractive. A distinct variation which has leaves between the paired flowers occurs from Albury to Canberra.
G.bracteosa is stunning and tough but is almost extinct near Geraldton and Three Springs in Western Australia. It can be a spectacular site with its pink, bracted flowers. It has been observed flowering well in well drained clay.
G.bronwenae is a spectacular, narrow shrub from the lower south-west of Western Australia which requires very well drained but moist conditions. Massed glowing red flowers. Touchy!
G.beadleana This species was presumed extinct until rediscovered in Guy Fawkes National Park in the mid 1980s. It has rich red toothbrush flowers. Two more populations have been recently discovered. The species is named after Noel Beadle from New England University.
G.beggoodiana This is restricted to the Enfield State Forest in Victoria and the population was almost wiped out by bushfires in the late 1990s. Hundreds of seedlings followed, however, if fire goes through before seeds set, plant could become extinct. This is a lovely low shrub with holly leaves and pink toothbrush flowers.
G.caliantha (Latin = beautiful anthers) This is another species from Western Australia. It has jet black, burgundy, red and apricot flowers. It is endangered and makes a lm x 1.5m bush in cultivation.
G.chrysophaea - the Rosedale form is showy and looks like G.alpina. It is a dense bush with massed golden flowers and is also found at the Brisbane Ranges, Licola and Sale areas in Victoria.
G.celata Originally regarded as a form of G.chrysophaea from Nowa Nowa in east Gippsland, Victoria, this ghas been sold as G.chrysophaea - Bicolour Form. It normally grows to lm x lm with red and yellow flowers and may sucker lightly.
G.confertfolia This is found in the Grampians and is not common. It thrives in wet, poorly drained sites but can grow in harsh conditions under trees, or in rockeries once established. It is found along creeks around Roses Gap, Troopers Creek, Asses Ears, Major Mitchell Plateau and Victoria Range. "confertifolia" means "dense foliage" and could be a typographical error as it is a dense flowering shrub - "confertiflora" possibly should have been the correct name. Beautiful mauve-pink flowers.
G.curviloba (used to be G.biternata) is now rare in the wild but is common in cultivation.
G.dryandroides (foliage like a Dryandra). The common form in cultivation is ssp. hirsuta from Cadoux, Western Australia in a small area between the railway, sandpit and road. This is a beautiful shrub which is nearly extinct in the wild. It suckers when disturbed. The type form has smaller, green leaves.
G.flexuosa was presumed extinct until rediscovered in the Darling Ranges west of Perth. It has massed perfumed cream flowers and forms a 2m x 2m shrub.
G.hookeriana has jet black to dull red, toothbrush flowers. What has commonly been sold as G.hookeriana is a hybrid, and should be called 'Red Hooks'. Recently a beautiful, yellow flowered form has been introduced into cultivation.
G.infecunda is very rare but used to be found at Brighton, Victoria. It never sets seeds in the wild, although it occasionally does in cultivation. It is a hardy, suckering plant and is now found only in the Anglesea area on the south coast of Victoria.
G.masonii comes from northern New South Wales and was discovered by Dave Mason. It is almost extinct with massed red and green flowers on a O.4m x O.6m bush.
G.maxwellii is from Western Australia. It is a new rediscovery and very rare. It has an an attractive layering habit with massed pink-red flowers.
G.montis-cole is from Mt Cole in Western Victoria. It used to be readily available but is now rare in cultivation. It is found in the "Glut" picnic ground area and used to be sold as Grevillea sp "Glut". It is great for under trees and grows well in cool wet areas. Red toothbrush flowers.
G.obtusfolia grows well in wet swampy areas. It grows in water and flowers whilst in water. It is an excellent groundcover but sparse of flower.
G.ramosissima ssp hypargyrea (Latin = silver leaves) This soecues occurs in north-east Victoria from the Mt Mittamitite and Pine Mountain areas. This unusual fern leafed grevillea has upright spikes of tiny cream flowers.
G.tetragonoloba This used to be sold incorrectly as fine leafed form of G.hookeriana. This is one of the very best for honeyeaters.
G.rosmarinfolia The type form of this species was believed to be extinct until re-discovered by the Grevillea Study Group in the central west of New South Wales. Prior to that re-discovery, the type form had been found still growing in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens UK. It is "tough as boots". Other forms are also in cultivation (eg. forms from Bendigo, Little Desert and Lara in Victoria). The many dwarf forms are spectacular when mass planted.
G.scapigera This is almost extinct in the wild but fortunately some plants are being propagated by tissue culture. It is from the central wheat belt areas of Western Australia. It is a beautiful species but extremely touchy in cultivation. It can be successfully grafted onto Grevillea 'Royal Mantle'.
G.williamsonii was named by Baron von Mueller in 1893 but was thought to be extinct until but rediscovered in 1993 at Cassidy Gap in western Victoria. However, there are very few plants left in the wild. It is now in cultivation and is an attractive lm x lm bush. It features massed tiny, yellow-green, pink and red toothbrush flowers.
G.sp. nova Scott River - This species was discobvered after the Grevillea Book was finished - it may be named G.mccutcheonii after its discoverer. It has beautiful stem-clasping leaves with orange and red flowers.
Expose the cambium layer for 1 cm or more and use Clonex hardwood gel. This contains a hormone, fungicide and numerous other growth stimulants, and gives far better strike rates than hormone powders.
From Growing Australian, newsletter of the Australian Plants Society (Victoria), March 1997.
[Front Page] [Features] [Departments] [Society Home] [Subscribe]
Australian Plants online - March 2003
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants