Grevillea ‘Honey Gem’

(cultivar)

Family: Proteaceae

A large shrub that grows to 6 metres high by 5 metres wide. This cultivar is reported to be a hybrid between Grevillea banksii (a Queensland species) and G. pteridifolia (a Queensland and NT species).

It has deep green, strongly divided leaves with spreading lobes, to about 30 cm long by 15 cm wide, with linear segments to only 0.3 cm across. The lower sides are covered with silvery hairs, contrasting strongly from the upper side. The size of the leaves allow this plant to create dense foliage.

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 to about 15 cm long by 8 cm wide. They are deep golden-orange with hints of yellow and can be produced profusely, mainly in winter-spring. This cultivar does not flower all year.

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 30 mm long, golden-orange with yellow-tips.

In the garden

A very attractive plant for a garden situation with a well-drained soil and full sun.
It is reportedly a very fast growing and hardy shrub. It can grow to 6 metres, so active pruning is advised in most situations, from an early stage. Can tolerate hard pruning. Plants that are several metres tall can be cut back to about 1 metre tall (or even lower) to refresh the plant and provide new dense growth. Works well as a screening plant.

It can cope without supplementary watering, although plants will flower much more heavily if watered. Frost tolerant.

Very good cut flower, harvest when the inflorescence is in bud rather than full-flowered. The inflorescences are of a good large size but are mainly produced only in winter-spring. It can flower very heavily, creating a spectacular show, and is great for attracting birds, especially parrots.

This cultivar has previously held the position “Best Selling Australian Shrub”. It has been a favoured cultivar for a long time.

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.

Other information

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.

Honey Gem’ – named for the golden-orange inflorescences.

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

https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-honey-gem-grevillea/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_%27Honey_Gem%27

 

By Dan Clarke