Grevillea lanigera ‘Mt Tamboritha’


Family: Proteaceae

This plant is a compact form of Grevillea lanigera, growing to 0.5 metres high by 1.5 metres wide and can make a dense groundcover.

This cultivar has been widely grown and available in plant nurseries for many years. It has not been officially registered with the Australian Cultivar registration Authority – but is commonly sold and marketed under Grevillea lanigera ‘Mt Tamboritha’. Interestingly, it is reported that this plant does not originate from Mt Tamboritha (a very high mountain located on the western edge of the Victorian Alpine National Park). Some what confusingly, there is a known form at Mt Tamboritha, but it is reported that this cultivar is not it. Rather, this cultivar has likely been selected from a form growing in the coastal areas of Victoria, from around Wilsons Promontory.

Grevillea lanigera is occus in NSW, growing from south of about Dubbo, through the central tablelands and western slopes as well as the south western slopes, tablelands and coast, into Victoria, where it grows commonly, as far west as Horsham.

Leaves are very fine, to about 10 mm long by 3 mm wide, typically dark green and heavily clustered on stems, also with dense hairs underneath.

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 is one of the spider-flowers, with clusters of pink and white flowers produced at the terminals, usally about 30 mm by 20 mm in size.

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 cultivar, flowers are to 20 mm long and usually have a white perianth and pink styles.

Follicle are hairy to about 1 cm long.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

This cultivar makes an excellent compact ground cover as they grow to about one metre (or less) in diameter to about 20 cm high in situations with full sun to partial shade in fairly well drained soils.

I have been growing these plants for many years (in my garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh) and I find the flowers and foliage very attractive.

Its attractive grey/green foliage is a good colour contrast to its flowers, and is best shown if planted in groups of three. For those of you living in areas that receive heavy winter frosts, this plant is frost tolerant to at least -11°C.

Overall, a great native plant that could be grown in any garden.


Must be propagated from cuttings to maintain true-to-type forms.

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”.

Most Grevillea species will regenerate from seed after fire but can produce coppicing shoots from rhizomes and root zones.

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.

lanigera – Latin meaning ‘wool bearing’; referring to the appearance of hairs on the leaves and other parts.

‘Mt Tamboritha’ – named for the mountain in Victoria but, reportedly, it is not from there.

Gardening with Angus – Grevillea lanigera ‘Mt Tamoritha’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-lanigera-mt-tamboritha/

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

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 Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.