Grevillea diversifolia

Variable-leaved Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea diversifolia is a shrub growing to 5 metres tall by several metres wide.

It occus in the south-west corner of Western Australia, in two disjunct patches: in the Perth area – south of Joondalup to the Busselton-area: then further south on the south coast – east of Northcliffe, to Albany-Mt Barker area and north to near Tambellup.

The leaves are up to 80 millimetres long and broad near the apex, to about 15 mm wide. Some leaves can exhibit lobing or are entire and linear.

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 a spider-flower with white to light-cream inflorescences, about 2 x 2 cm, appearing predominantly in winter and spring.

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 up to 1 cm long; white to light-cream. The styles are up to 2 cm long, red in colour.

The follicle is oblong, about 15 mm long.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

Our specimens, after ten years, are about 1.5 metres tall by the same width.

This is an unusual species because of the size of the flower heads. If you have a small garden and are looking for a grevillea to plant then this is probably not most suitable grevillea to plant, due to its size. In a larger garden, Grevillea diversifolia could be included in an informal hedge or screen. Light pruning is appreciated.

The species has proved to be drought and frost tolerant in our garden.

We were given cuttings, many years ago, by a member of Newcastle APS.


Grevillea diversifolia propagates readily from cuttings. We rate it in the top 10% of grevilleas in ease of propagation.

Other information

The type specimen was collected on the banks of the Vasse River, near Busselton, Western Australia in 1839.

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.

diversifolia – Latin – diversum meaning “different” and –folia meaning “leaves”, referring to the variable leaf appearance.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

Western Australian Herbarium: FloraBase – The Flora of Western Australia –                                    Grevillea diversifolia profile page https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/1992

Wikipedia – Grevillea diversifolia profile page                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_diversifolia

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