Grevillea evansiana

Evans Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea evansiana is a low, spreading shrub that will reach a height of 1 metre with a spread of 1.5 metres.

It is rare in the wild, occurring only to the east of Rylestone and Kandos in NSW, in Wollemi National Park and nearby areas and reserves, in an area about 25 km by 25 km.

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest as well as swampy heathlands, usually on Narrabeen Sandstone.

It is a listed threatened species in the wild.

Leaves are alternate along stems, elliptic in shape and may be up to 3 centimetres long. The upper surface is shiny green with a silvery contrasting undersurface.

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 produce the inflorescences mostly at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.

This species is a spider-flower, with dark red and black pendulous clusters, each cluster about 1 cm long by 3 cm wide. Rarely – they can be white with green tones. They appear in late 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, each flowers are up to 1 cm long, dark red with black perianths, and a paler pollen presenter. Rarely, flowers can white with green tones.

The follicles are hairless and about 1 cm long.

In the garden

This species is known to be cultivated, in spite of its rare status.

Author’s notes:

Grevillea evansiana is an attractive small shrub with unusual flowers and could be cultivated in a native garden bed or large rockery.

We first saw Grevillea evansiana growing in Sid Cadwell’s Boongala Nursery, west of Sydney, many years ago. We were so taken by the plant that we took a holiday to find the species in its natural state. We were successful and found the Grevillea evansiana growing around the impounded water of Kandos Dam (Dunn’s Swamp) in Wollemi National Park. There is also a white-flowered form growing in this area.

Grevillea evansiana is surviving and thriving in our cold climate garden (near Armidale).

It is reported to be hardy on a sandy or sandstone soil in full sun to part shade. It is said that it is not as attractive as a lot of similar grevilleas. But interesting to grow, nonetheless, for its threatened status.

Check with local native nurseries or online for availability.


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

Most grevilleas regenerate from seed after fire. Some can reshoot from buried rhizomes.

Grevillea flowers were a traditional favourite among First Nations Peoples of Australia 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 is a diverse genus of about 365 species with about 357 occurring in Australia. Some species occur in New Caledonia, Indonesia and New Guinea. NSW currently has about 85 species although with a lot of subspecies and some informal taxa recognised.

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.

evansiana – named after Obed David Evans (1899-1975) – a botanist who worked at the University of Sydney from 1916-1954 and actively developed the John Ray Herbarium.

This species is listed as being at risk of extinction in the wild, under both State and Commonwealth legislation with the category of Vulnerable at both levels.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Grevillea evansiana profile page    https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Grevillea~evansiana

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Threatened Species Profiles – Grevillea evansiana profile page https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10363

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.