Grevillea beadleana is a beautiful, dense, spreading shrub growing to 2.5 metres tall by about 2 metres wide.
It is a rare species, only found on the Northern Tablelands of NSW, extending into the North Coast. It has disjunct occurrences near Walcha, then east of Uralla, then between Guyra and Dorrigo and towards Grafton, then with another occurence south-east of Tenterfield.
It grows mainly on steep granite slopes or ridges, in dry sclerophyll shrubland and woodland. It is a listed threatened species in the wild.
Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 17 cm long and 11 cm wide, strongly pinnatisect with secondary and tertiary divisions, with ultimate segments triangular to oblong and pointed (in a similar fashion to G. ‘Robyn Gordon’); dark green above and hairy underneath, reported to be soft-textured.
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 produce the inflorescences mostly at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.
This species is a toothbrush-type with the inflorescences dark red/burgundy with some black tones, to 5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide. Blooms are carried for most of the year and are rich in nectar. Both foliage and flowers are decorative features.
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, flowers are to 2 cm long with dark-red and black tones and the pollen presenter yellow.
The follicles are hairy with dark blotches, to about 1.5 cm long and wide.
Although rare in nature Grevillea beadleana has become available from nurseries. It has been in cultivation since the 1980s. It is a very reliable and hardy plant and is suited to a wide range of gardens. Plant in a well-drained soil in sun to semi-shade. It can tolerate some dry conditions as well as frost.
This, coupled with populations protected in conservation areas, should ensure the long term survival of the species.
Grevillea beadleana propagates readily from cuttings. Grevilleas are propagated by three principal methods: seed, cuttings and grafting. To maintain desirable characteristics of a particular plant, vegetative propagation (e.g. cuttings or grafting) must be used. This also applies to propagation of named cultivars.
Grevillea beadleana was first discovered in 1982 and named in 1986. The original collection was in the Guy Fawkes River National Park, northern NSW. Since then other populations have been found in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and Torrington State Conservation Area. Both are also in northern NSW. Collections have also been made in the Clarence Valley, inland from Grafton on the North Coast of NSW.
Most grevilleas regenerate from seed after fire. Some can reshoot from buried rhizomes.
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 of Australia 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”.
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.
beadleana – is named after the late Professor N. C. W. Beadle (1914-1998) who was the foundation head of the Botany Department at the University of New England (UNE), Australia. He is also remembered by the naming of the NCW Beadle Herbarium at UNE.
This species is listed as being at risk of extinction in the wild at both the State and Commonwealth level, with the status of Endangered at both levels.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Grevillea beadleana profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Grevillea~beadleana
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Threatened Species Profiles – Grevillea beadleana profile page https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10360
Australian Native Plants Society Australia – Grevillea beadleana profile page https:/anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/grevillea-beadleana/
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.