Grevillea sericea

Distribution Map
Family: Proteaceae
Distribution: Forests and woodlands along the central coast of New South Wales, extending west as far as Mudgee.
Common Name: Silky grevillea
Derivation of Name: Grevillea...after Charles Francis Greville, co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society
sericea...from Latin sericeus, silky, referring to the hairs on the underside of the leaves.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild at the species level although subsp. riparia is classified as 2VC under the ROTAP * system due to its restricted distribution.

General Description:

Grevillea sericea is a well known species and is widely cultivated. There are two sub-species recognised:

  • subsp. sericea - leaves usually less than 30 mm long; pink or white flowers
  • subsp. riparia - leaves up to 120mm long; deep pink to purple flowers. This variety occurs generally along rivers and streams in the lower Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
Grevillea sericea subsp. sericea
Grevillea sericea subsp. riparia
Grevillea sericea subsp. sericea (top); Grevillea sericea subsp. riparia (bottom)
Photos: Brian Walters

Grevillea sericea is usually a small to medium shrub from 1 to 2 metres high (subsp. riparia rarely exceeds 1 metre). The flowers occur in "spider" clusters on short branchlets from the main stems, are often prolific and occur over a long period from autumn through to spring.

Silky grevillea is popular in cultivation and succeeds in most temperate areas in soils of reasonable drainage. It prefers sunny or semi-shaded situations, responds well to pruning and is tolerant of at least moderate frosts. Some forms have a suckering habit which is never invasive. The species is an ideal size for average-sized gardens and, although it does not appear to attract honey-eating birds, native bees (as well as European honey bees) find the flowers very attractive. There is a popular hybrid form available known as "Colloroy Plateau" - this has G.sericea subsp.sericea and G.speciosa as its parents and has brilliant pink flower clusters.

The species can be grown from seed which should be "nicked" with a sharp knife prior to sowing to improve germination. Cuttings from firm, current season's growth usually strike reliably.

* ROTAP = Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (Briggs and Leigh, 1988)
  For further information refer the Australian Plants at Risk page

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