Plant of the Month — April 2007
Grevillea excelsior Diels — Flame Grevillea
Grevillea excelsior is a large shrub or small tree growing in height from 1–8 m. Its striking flowers, on long spikes, vary in colour from yellow to deep orange and can be enjoyed by birds and insects during spring and summer. It is a very important food source of its region: birds are dependent upon this small tree for nectar and they are also its pollinators.
This Grevillea thrives on the inland soils of gravel, sandplain and yellow sand, with one community on the coast at Kalbarri. The plant was first discovered at Tammin in 1901, but its known range includes the goldfields to the east, south almost to Ravensthorpe, north to near Buntine and further north to Kalbarri.
Grevillea excelsior derives its genus name from the Rt. Hon. C.F. Greville, (1749–1809), Vice-Chamberlain to King George III and a wealthy dilettante who gambled much of his wealth. Greville was co-founder in 1804 of the Horticultural Society of London, Vice-President of the Royal Society and a collector and grower of rare plants. He was honoured in the genus Grevillea by the explorer and botanist Robert Brown. The species name describes its lofty, regal habit and is derived from the Latin excelsus meaning lofty or high.
Photo: T. Tapper
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