Kingia australis

Distribution Map
Family: Dasypogonaceae
Distribution: South Western Australia in heath, woodland and open forest.
Common Name: Kingia.
Derivation of Name: Kingia; After Philip Gidley King, founder of the first European settlement on Norfolk Island and his son Philip Parker King.
australis; southern, referring to the distribution of the species.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Kingia is a genus comprising the single species, Kingia australis. When not in flower, the plant resembles the grass trees (Xanthorrhoea sp), however, the two genera are not closely related. Mature plants can reach 6-8 metres in height and have thick, sometimes branched trunks made up of the old leaf bases. The flowers are greenish yellow to brown and are individually quite small but they occur in conspicuous globular clusters on stems held above the foliage. Flowering occurs in winter and early spring.

Kingia australis   Kingia australis
Kingia australis
Photos: Alfred Guhl and Danni Church

Like Xanthorrhoea, the plant grows very slowly and can live for several hundred years. Also like Xanthorrhoea, a market has developed for transplanting mature specimens for sale though nurseries. Generally this involves 'rescue' of plants being displaced by land clearing for extension of urban areas or for farmland development. Establishment of these plants in gardens can be difficult - for the best chance of success the plants need to be given well drained conditions and not allowed to dry out during the re-establishment period.

Seed germinates without pretreatment but may be slow. Seedling growth is also very slow and seedlings take many years to develop into large specimens. They do, however, form attractive small garden or container plants in 3-4 years.

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