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Products > Xanthorrhoea glauca
Xanthorrhoea glauca - Eastern Australian Grass-tree

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Xanthorrhoea glauca (Queensland Grasstree) A large slow-growing plant that with time has a thick dark rough textured branching trunk 6 to 8 feet tall or more topped with long (4-5 foot long) very narrow gray-green leaves. When mature, and on a somewhat irregular schedule, tall vertical rod-like brown flower stalks rise to 10 feet and are covered with bee attracting small white flowers that emerge from brown bracts. lant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil where it can tolerate regular irrigation, occasional or even very dry conditions. Hardy to at least 20 F - weathered our Christmas 1990 freeze with short duration temperatures down to 18 F without any damage. This beautiful plant is admired for its spherical form and fine texture and makes it a perfect garden specimen for those who have the patience to watch it grow. It can also be kept as a potted specimen for many years. Our 35 year old specimen in the garden has multiple branching trunks to over 5 feet tall with an overall height of 8 to 9 feet and when flowering the spikes rise another 10 feet above this - Wow is all people say when they see this plant! This species is widespread in eastern Australia in the states of Queensland and New South Wales. Xanthorrhoea is a genus with about 30 species endemic to Australia that was once included in the large lily family, the Liliaceace, but taxonomists later placed it in its own montypic family that also included such genera as Kingia, Dasypogon and Lomandra. The current nomenclature has it in its own subfamily, the Xanthorrhoeoideae, as part of the large Asphodel family, the Asphodelaceae, which includes such other familiar plants as Aloe, Bulbine, Dianella, Hemerocallis, Kniphofia and Phormium. Though often associated with succulents or trees, the Xanthorrhoea are actually long lived perennials with secondary thickening wood-like meristem forming in the stems. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'xanthos', meaning "yellow" and 'rheo' meaning "to flow" in reference to the resin of this plant that was collected from around the base of the stem by Aboriginal Australians who heated and rolled it into balls and used it for various purposes. The specific epithet is the Greek word meaning "bluish-gray" referring to the color of the leaves. Other common names for Xanthorrhoea include grasstree, grass gum-tree (for the resin-yielding species), kangaroo tail. An early colonial name was "blackboy" but this name is now appropriately considered offensive and politically incorrect. This name was purportedly based on the look of the fire blackened trunks with foliage and tall inflorescence spike emerging at the top appearing as similar to that of an Aboriginal man holding an upright spear. We list this name here strictly for its historical significance and not to suggest it ever be used now as common name. Our thanks to Jo O'Connell for providing us with this great plant. She grew this plant from seed provided to her by a friend who has a forest of this species growing on their property in New South Wales.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Xanthorrhoea glauca.