San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JULY

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Xanthorrhoea glauca
Xanthorrhoea glauca - Eastern Australian Grass-tree
Image of Xanthorrhoea glauca
[2nd Image]
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 4 to 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 above the foliage crown and are covered with bee attracting small white flowers that emerge from brown bracts.

Plant 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 - our garden plant 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 10 to 12 feet and when flowering the spikes rise 10 plus feet above this - Wow is all people say when they see this plant!

Xanthorrhoea glauca 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 the common name. Our thanks to Jo O'Connell for providing us with our first crops of this species that she grew from seed provided to her by a friend who has a forest of them growing on their property in New South Wales. 

This information about Xanthorrhoea glauca displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.