Grevillea bronwenae

Red Ochre Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

An erect shrub growing to 2 metres tall, typically with a narrow spread to about 1 metre.

It grows naturally in the south-west corner of Western Australia, south of Bunbury, on sandy soils in dry sclerophyll woodland and shrubland. It is a listed threatened species.

Leaves are linear, to 10 cm long by up to 1 cm wide, olive-like in appearance, linear to lanceolate with recurved margins.

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 one of the spider-flowers, with inflorescences to about 2 cm long by 5 cm wide. They are deep scarlet-red to red-orange. The buds are a red-brown when developing.

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 20 mm long, dark red with dark purple tips.

The perianths are scarlet-red to red-orange.

The follicle is about 15 mm long.

In the garden

A grevillea that is well-worth growing for its deep red flowers and overall small vase-like structure. It is grown by some Sydney APS members at least, with success.

Likes a well-drained soil but should not be allowed to dry out. Grow in full sun to part shade.

Can easily be kept under control with light pruning and can be shaped into a 1.5 x 1 metre shrub.

Propagation

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. Grafted forms are the best for east coast gardens. This species is likely propagated from seed.

Other information

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 grevilleas regenerate from seed after fire with some species exhibiting the ability to sucker from the base.

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.

bronwenae – named by botanist Gregory Keighery after his wife, Bronwen Keighery.

Listed as threatened with extinction in the wild in WA with a Priority of 3.

https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/12219
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_bronwenae
http://anpsa.org.au/APOL29/mar03-5.html

By Dan Clarke