Grevillea ‘Goliath’

(cultivar)

Family: Proteaceae

A grafted shrub growing to 4 m tall by several metres wide. It was developed by well known Grevillea breeder, the Late Merv Hodge (1933-2019). It appears to be associated with the Grevillea banksii cultivars and is possibly a hybrid of G. banksii x G ‘Majestic’.

Leaves are typical of many other grevilleas, long and strongly dissected with fine segments, to 20 cm long and 10 cm wide. The leaves are paler underneath due to silvery hairs.

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 cultivar has a cylindrical raceme, with inflorescences up to 30 centimetres long by 8 centimetres wide. The length of the inflorescences makes this cultivar one of the longest inflorescence bearers. They are deep red-pink and produced above the foliage. In bud, the inflorescences are grey-green.

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, red with yellow tips. The perianths are red-pink.

In the garden

A very attractive plant for a garden situation with well-drained soil and full sun.

It is reportedly a very fast growing and hardy shrub. However, it can be subject to “sudden death” syndrome if not grafted onto a hardy root stock. It prefers a sandy soil which good drainage. It also prefers a tropical climate but does grow well in the Illawarra Grevillea Park (where it is grafted). Give some supplementary watering in dry periods. Plants will flower much more heavily if watered.

Can tolerate hard pruning. Plants that may be several metres tall can be cut back to about 1 m tall (or lower) to refresh the plant and provide new dense growth. Works well as a screening plant.

Although not yet recorded, the cultivar is very similar to several cultivars which have been known to cause allergic contact dermatitis for certain individuals who come into contact with it, so caution is advised.

Very good cut flower, harvest when the inflorescence is in bud rather than full-flowered. The inflorescences are of a good large size and are produced mainly in winter and spring. Spot flowering at other times. It can flower very heavily, creating a spectacular show.

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. This cultivar can be grafted onto Grevillea ‘Moonlight’.

Other information

Note: A cultivar for which little information is available online. It is known that there were commercial issues in getting the plant released onto the market. And production of this plant may now have ceased. However, there are images available online of people growing it.

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.

Goliath’ – refers to the long size of the inflorescences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/248895/#b

https://www.facebook.com/apssafleurieugroup/posts/grevillea-goliath-i-have-been-impressed-with-this-grevillea-how-it-seemed-to-fly/1019980074852501/

By Dan Clarke