Grevillea leiophylla

Wallum Grevillea / Fairy Floss

Family: Proteaceae

A slender shrub, grwoing to 1 metre tall, owith a spread to 1.5 metres.

It is endemic to Queensland, growing in the south-east, growing close to the coast, from the Gold Coast to Fraser Island.

It typically grows in coastal heathlands and shrublands as well as sclerophyll woodlands, on sands including wallum sands.

Grevillea leiophylla is closely related to the better known G. linearifolia and appears similar to this as well as forms of G. sericea.

Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 50 mm long and typically narrow – to 3 mm across with a pointed mucro. hairless on both sides, mid to dark green.

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 clusters of flowers carried on the ends of branches. Blooms are pink with some white tones, appearing in spring and summer.

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, flowers are to 1.5 cm long, with pink and some white tones.

The fruit is a follicle, up to 1 cm long.

In the garden

This species is commonly sold at nurseries and is known to be cultivated. Check online and with local native nurseries for availability.

A useful shrub for rockeries and shrubberies, especially when grown on sandy soils.

It grows best in full sun on a well-drained soil. A nice small plant that can spread wider than it will vertically, so useful for covering up bare ground.


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

The type specimen of this species was collected from the Glasshouse Mountains in the mid 1870’s.

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.

leiophylla – Greek – leios (λείος) meaning ‘smooth’ and –phylla (φύλλα) meaning ‘leaves’ – referrring to the smooth and hairless leaves of the species

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

Wikipedia – Grevillea leiophylla profile page                   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_leiophylla

Windyridge Nursery – Grevillea leiophylla profile page            https://www.grevilleas.com.au/grev48.html

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.