Grevillea anethifolia

Spiny Cream Spider Flower

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea anethifolia is a medium, spreading shrub, reaching 2 metres tall by 1-2 metres wide.

It has avery interesting distribution, occurring in central NSW, on the south western plains (east and north of Griffith), then with a disjunction to South Australia (Kimba to Minnipa and north-of); then with another disjunction to the south-west of WA (from east and south of Kalgoorlie, towards Perth). All states treat it as a native species.

It mostly grows, in all areas, on sandy to sandy loam soils, in mallee shrubland and open sclerophyll woodland.

The leaves are light green, to five centimetres long, strongly pinnatisect (divided) with narrow-linear and prickly segments. The foliage has a soft appearance but is prickly.

A grevillea inflorescence is technically a cluster of paired flowers, termed a conflorescence with the overall structure forming a raceme-like appearance. Grevillea species exhibit 3 main inflorescence structures:
1. A cylindrical to ovoid raceme (with flowers emerging around a 360° radius)
2. A single-sided raceme (with flowers produced on only one side, resembling a tooth-brush)
3. A condensed or clustered raceme (usually as long as it is wide, with species referred to as the spider-flowers).

Grevillea mostly produce the inflorescences at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.

This species is best described as having inflorescences of the shortly ovoid raceme (somwhat melding into a spider-inflorescence), about 2 cm long by 3 cm or more wide, creamy-white, very conspicuous, profuse and sweetly perfumed. The lengthy flowering period extends from August to December.

Individual flowers are composed of 1 carpel (female part) where the style and stigma protrude out; 4 stamens hidden away in the perianth; and the perianth (petals and sepals collectively) which connects to a pedicel. Proteaceae flowers do not have any discernible petals or sepals (having only one whorl) and so these are referred to as “tepals” of which there are 4. In this species, the perianth is up to 1 cm long; cream in colour

The carpels are up to to 1 cm long, cream in colour, and tipped with a yellow pollen-presenter. The flower buds are a deeper yellow colour.

The fruit is a follicle, without hairs.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

We are very fond of Grevillea anethifolia. We have many specimens scattered throughout our cold climate garden. Our specimens reach a height of two metres with a similar spread.

Plants respond positively to pruning.

We have found this species to be hardy, free-flowering, fast growing.

Plant in a sunny location on sandy soil for best results. Drought tolerant once established.


This grevillea propagates rapidly from cuttings

Other information

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Sulawesi and other Indonesian islands east of the Wallace Line. NSW currently has about 85 species although with a lot of subspecies and some informal taxa recognised.

Grevillea flowers were a traditional favourite among First Nations Peoples for their sweet nectar. This could be shaken onto the hand to enjoy, or into a coolamon with a little water to make a sweet drink. They might be referred to as the original “bush lollies”.

Most Grevillea species will regenerate from seed after fire but can produce copping shoots.

Grevillea – was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville (1749-1809), an 18th-century patron of botany and co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. He was also a British antiquarian, collector and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1790.

anethifolia – Latin – referring to the foliage of the plant resembling the genus Anethum (the dill genus).

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Grevillea anethifolia profile page            https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Grevillea~anethifolia

The Western Australian Herbarium: Florabase – The Flora of Western Australia –                                Grevillea anethifolia profile page: https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/13447

Wikipedia – Grevillea anethifolia profile page                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_anethifolia


By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke