Grevillea ‘Blood Orange’

(cultivar)

Family: Proteaceae

A shrub growing to 3 x 3 metres. This cultivar was introduced by Chris Hughes at Plants for Living Nursery at Federal NSW, from a seedling that came up in the nursery. The parentage is not, as yet, known for the purposes of this profile. It is likely associated with the G. banksii group of cultivars.

It has finely dissected leaves (pinnatisect) to about 20 cm long by 10 cm wide, with narrow and opposite-linear segments, only about 0.3 cm across.

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 cultivar has cylindrical racemes, with inflorescences to about 15 cm long by about 6 cm wide. They are bright orange-red and are considered a unique colour in this group of cultivars. The inflorescences are grey-green in bud which creates beautiful contrast. It flowers for most of the year.

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.

The carpels are to 30 mm long, bright orange-red with yellow tips. The perianths are red with grey hairs.

In the garden

A fast growing and very attractive shrub with its dark green fern-like foliage and orange-red inflorescences. Grow in an open sunny position with some room to spread out. Reported to be hardy once established, additional watering will promote flowering.

Prune to shape and create density as well as to promote flowering. It can become a dense shrub with correct pruning. Tolerates a range of soils. Will only tolerate light frosts.

Great cut flower – harvest when flowers are just starting to open. It can create a dense screen when planted in a row.

Excellent bird and insect attractor.

Propagation

Other information

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 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”.

May cause contact-dermatitis when pruning, so exercise caution.

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.

‘Blood Orange’ – named for the red-orange inflorescences.

http://anpsa.org.au/grevSG/grev80.pdf

https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-blood-orange-grevillea/

By Dan Clarke