Friends of Lane Cove National Park Inc.
|What's flowering in the park|
Broad-leafed Grass tree
Xanthorrhoea arborea is one of the most distinctive Australian plants. It has a thick woody trunk and a crown of long, narrow, tough leaves up to 1m long, arching from the top of the trunk.
The numerous flowers are a creamy-white, with distinctive floral bracts. They are borne on a spike above a smooth strong scape (shaft).
The leaves of Xanthorrhoea arborea are 5 - 8 mm wide and flattish, tending to a dull bluish-grey colour. The scape and the spike can be 1 - 2 m each in length.
There are 4 species of Xanthorrhoea in the park - X. arborea (with a definite if sometimes very short trunk, flat leaves and longest shaft), X. minor (trunk, often branched, grows below the ground, not above), X. resinosa (recognised by its densely furry spike) and X. media (no aboveground trunk, smaller than the other species). The species can also hybridise, making identification difficult.
Grass trees had a wide range of uses by Aboriginal people in the Lane Cove River Valley. The stalk was used as a spear shaft, the resin collected from trunks for use as a glue. The flowers produce a very sweet nectar which can be licked off or soaked in water for a sweet drink.
Flowering time of Xanthorrhoea arborea is in general around the summer period, but flowering may depend on bush fires.