Grevillea chrysophaea

Golden Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea chrysophaea is an open shrub reaching a height of 2.5 metres with a spread of 2 metres.

It has a rather fractured natural distribution. There are two populations both in Victoria. One is found in the Brisbane Ranges, west of Melbourne. The other is in Gippsland, northern Victoria. The two populations are nearly 300 kilometres apart. It grows in sandy to silty soils, in open sclerophyll woodland and heathland.

Young growth is woolly with white hairs. Adult leaves are oblong to egg-shaped, with a maximum length of 60 mm, by up to 25 mm wide, with a short mucro, mid-green in colour.

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 closest to spider-flower with bright yellow inflorescences appearing predominantly from June to November. Each cluster is composed of 2 to 12 individual flowers, about 2.5 cm long by several centimteres wide.

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 golden yellow to brown-yellow, with brown and white hairs;

The carpels are up to 2.5 cm long, red in colour with white hairs, with a darker red pollen presenter.

The fruit is a follicle, hairy with longitudinal ridges.

Overall – the nature of the inflorescences and foliage (disregarding colour) – resemble the Green Spider Flower, Grevillea mucronulata.

In the garden

This is a very attractive grevillea to grow and can be a stunning plant.

It requires good drainage and prefers full sun or partial shade.

Occasional tip pruning is appreciated. Give it some room to spread out and be admired. It can be kept to a low height.

May not thrive in subtropical to tropical areas.

Honeyeaters are attracted to the blooms.


Propagate from cuttings that produce roots rapidly.

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

This species has a range of forms which includes smaller forms as well as narrow-leaved forms.

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.

chrysophaea – from Greek – chryso (χρυσό) – meaning “gold” and –phaea (from phaios (φαιος)) meaning “brown” (in this case) – referring to the golden-flowers with brown hairs.

This species is currently listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild under Victorian legislation with the category of Vulnerable.

VicFlora – Flora of Victoria Online – Greviilea chrysophaea profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/aa362885-e94e-494e-a326-28327ba09f63

Wikipedia – Greviilea chrysophaea profile page                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_chrysophaea

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

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