Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grass Tree

This is an uncommon Grass Tree in the Robertson area.
I believe it to be Xanthorrhoea australis.
Look to the tall spike
Then look down to the ground,
You will find a clump of rush-like leaves
This particular plant is seemingly a relatively young plant (with no trunk formed below the leaves).There are many species of Grass Trees, some of which have no trunk at all, but mostly they have small or medium flower spikes. But this plant has a terrific flower spike - well over 4 metres in height.
The flowers have finished, unfortunately, but the seed capsules are still visible. The floral section of the flower spike starts above my head height, so that gives you some idea of the overall height of this floral structure.I shall have to make a closer examination of the leaves of this plant in order to be absolutely sure of the identification, but the height of the wooden scape and the floral section - or more specifically, the ration of the length of each) is right for this species. Some have very long wooden spikes and relatively small flowering sections, and others vice-versa.


mick said...

There are several species of Xanthorrhoea up here but not that one which seems to grow only down south. The flower stem is magnificent. I have noticed with the ones around here that the height of the flower stem is partly dependent on both the underlying soil and the weather over the months previous to flowering.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
You may well be right about the dependence on rain. Certainly, different species grow in different soil conditions.
I should imagine that your Wallum country has lots of relatively short Grass Trees.
Out on the "Barren Grounds Nature Reserve", on a sandstone plateau, with a vast area of Banksia heath and scrub, they are very common. A different species, of course.
I have remembered since I wrote last night's piece, that there are a number of mature specimens down the road further, at Belmore Falls, which, being older, have proper trunks, so that hardens up my belief of the species I have found. But I will go and investigate them in some detail soon.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Never seen anything like it down here. Around here, most of the 'mature' grass trees with decent trunks wouldn't have a spike that big. Stunning.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gouldiae
The different species are separated by leaf cross-section shape and details of the flowers, and the ratio of length of the "scape" and the "flower spike".
It is not easy, and the details are not well "coded". Professionals do not always make it easy for the amateurs.
I agree that this was a good spike.
Personally I find the old trunks the most interesting feature of these wonderful plants. There are very few which grow good trunks around here, but I know where some are, and will get more photos soon.