Grass Tree

Finding a grass tree specimen is not too difficult in Australia.

  • Grass trees are a genus of roughly 30 species of perennial plants that are native exclusively to Australia.
  • ‘Grass trees’ are also known as ‘grass gum-trees’, ‘yakkas’, ‘balgas’, and ‘balga grass’, as well as ‘blackboys’, though this name is somewhat controversial due to the plant’s comparison to indigenous Australians.
  • The scientific name of the grass tree is Xanthorrhoea and it is from the family Asphodelaceae, a family of flowering plants.
  • Grass trees generally have an almost spherical cluster of long, spiky grass-like leaves that form at the top of a trunk.
  • The small flowers of grass trees grow along a tall cylindrical spike that can reach from 1 to 4.5 metres (3 to 15 feet) and sits above the plant.

Grass Tree, Trivia, Random Facts, Plant, Australia, Vegetation, Xanthorrhoea

  • Grass trees can take a very lengthy time to grow; however, they can also live to be 600 years old; and the plants, depending on the species, can grow to 6 metres (20 feet) in height, not including the flower spike.
  • Not all grass tree species have trunks, while some have branched trunks, yet others may only branch if they have been damaged.
  • Some grass tree species have a natural procedure for combating bushfire devastation, by growing new flower spikes directly after experiencing a fire.
  • Grass trees have been traditionally adapted by indigenous Australians to create spears, particularly using the plant’s leaf resin as an adhesive, and the plant’s flowers have also been made into a sweet drink.
  • In World War II and prior, the resin of grass trees was put on tins and other metals to combat rust; and the resin was also used to create a lacquer; and sometimes used in churches to create a pleasing aroma, by burning the substance.
Genus Xanthorrhoea, n.d, PlantNET,
Pawlan M, Australian Xanthorrhoea, n.d, Pawlan,
Watson P, The Grass Tree: Its Use and Abuses, 2004, Australian Plants Online,
Xanthorrhoea, 2016, Wikipedia,


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