Grevillea floribunda

Rusty Spider Flower / Sevens Dwarfs Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea floribunda is a dwarf to medium shrub, growing to 2 metres tall (usually smaller) and spreading to 2 metres wide.

It has a large natural range in NSW, all over the western slopes and into the northern and central tablelands, extending into the east of the western plains. It extends into the approximate south-eastern quarter of Queensland, and only just into Victoria (around Wangaratta-Albury).

It grows typically on sandy soils in open woodlands and rocky shrublands.

Leaves are oblong-elliptic, to obovate, to 8 cm long and 2 cm wide, deep-green above and greyish-hairy below. Young growth is rusty-hairy.

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 falls in the shortly-cylindrical/ovoid type with rusty-green-orange inflorescences appearing predominantly winter to spring. Each cluster is composed of 6 to 20 individual flowers and measures to 6 cm long overall by 3 cm wide. Many observations have noted clusters of 7 flowers (hence the common name).

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; green to orange and covered in rusty brown hairs

The carpels are up to 2.5 cm long, red to brown in colour, and tipped with a yellow pollen-presenter.

The fruit is a follicle, hairy without dark stripes or blotches.

In the garden

Grevillea floribunda is a neat shrub with unusual flowers. It is reported to be hardy in a sunny and open position with good drainage and is known to be successfully cultivated.

The flowers contrast strongly with the foliage.

It is sold online.

Tip pruning is advised to create a denser habit and more flowers.


Propagate from cuttings.

Other information

One subspecies is currently recognised in NSW which is the type subspecies. Grevillea floribunda subsp. tenella, from Queensland, has yellow flowers.

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.

floribunda – Latin meaning “profusion of flowers” – referring to its flowering nature.

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

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

VicFlora – Flora of Victoria Online – Grevillea floribunda profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/2d270b6d-c3a0-4b88-b00d-68db94acadd8

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