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.
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.
Photo: Alfred Guhl
Photo: Danni Church