Grevillea 'Butterfly Beauty'

(cultivar)

Family: Proteaceae

A shrub growing to around 1 metre tall by 1.5 metres wide.

The cutting material for this plant was collected by Peter Olde in Western Australia around 2010 from a single plant in the wild. Peter was of the view it was a hybrid between two grevilleas in the area – Grevillea fililoba and Grevillea hirtella.

Leaves are dark to mid-green, to about 6 cm long and 3 cm wide, and dissected into linear segments (pinnatisect) resulting in a forked appearance.

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 has spider-inflorescences, to about 5 cm long and 5 cm wide. They are held at the terminals, bright pink-red in colour with yellow-green tips.

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 40 mm long, bright pink-red with yellow-green tips.

The perianths are lighter pink at the tips, pink-red below.

In the garden

This plant is limited in its availability due to collection history but will make an attractive small plant for a suburban garden. Bright pink-red inflorescences are very attractive. It creates a dense shrub with pruning. Grow in full sun to part shade. The dissected nature of the foliage is also appealing.

At present (August, 2021) it is only available from Westleigh Native Plants.

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.

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”

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.

‘Butterfly Beauty’ – named by Australian Plants Society member, Brian Roach, for its flowers which are reminiscent of a butterfly (with a bit of imagination).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea
westleighnativeplants@gmail.com

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke