Grevillea robusta

Grevillea robusta

Grevillea robusta, commonly known as the Silk- or Silky-oak, or Australian Silver-oak, is the largest species in the genus Grevillea. It is a native of eastern coastal Australia. It is a fast growing evergreen tree, between 18-35 m tall with dark green delicately dented bipinnatifid leaves reminiscent of a fern frond. These leaves are generally 15-30 cm long with greyish white or rusty undersides. Its flowers are golden-orange bottlebrush-like blooms, between 8-15 cm long, in the spring, on a 2-3 cm long stem. The seeds mature in late winter to early spring, fruiting on dark brown leathery dehiscent follicles, about 2 cm long, with one or two flat, winged seeds.

Uses

Grevillea robusta is used in musical instrument making, as a top for the acoustic Stompbox and guitar inlays by Ellis Guitars. Before the advent of aluminium, the timber from this tree was widely used for external window joinery as it is resistant to rotting. It was also popular for making furniture. There are severe restrictions on the harvesting of this tree now as the number of trees became depleted. It is the best tree which can be used for fencing and it is one of the fastest growing trees.

Cultivation

When young it can be grown as a houseplant where it can tolerate light shade, but prefers full sun as it grows best in warm zones. If planted outside, young trees need protection on frosty nights. It needs occasional water but is otherwise fairly drought-resistant.

Grevillea robusta is often used as stock for grafting difficult-to-grow grevilleas.

Care needs to be taken when planted near bushland as it can be weedy.

External links

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