Grevillea montana

Mountain Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

A spreading shrub to 0.5 to 1.5 metres high.

It grows from the southern Hunter Region of New South Wales; from Denman to Kurri Kurri, growing in open forests on sandy soils.

Leaves are narrow-elliptic to oblanceolate or linear, to 3 cm long and to 0.7 cm wide, margins entire, recurved to revolute.

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 at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.

This species is a “spider-flower” with inflorescences 1 to 4-flowered. 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 reddish, often green near base, subsericeous (meaning less silky with less dense appressed hairs) to pubescent outside, bearded usually above the middle inside. The gynoecium (female parts) are to about 3 cm long. Yellow flowered forms can occasionally be found in some areas.

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

In the garden

Grevillea montana is not widely grown but has been in cultivation for many years. It was in cultivation in England as early as 1822 (and possibly as early as 1803). It is a neat but not spectacular shrub which is reliable in a range of well drained soils and over a wide climatic range. The shrub has a neat growth habit.  It grows well in sun or semi-shade and tolerates at least moderate frost. The species is an ideal size for average-sized gardens and as well.

In a garden situation, Grevilleas are good bird-attracting plants.

As with all Grevilleas, use only low Phosphorus fertilisers recommended for native plants.


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

This species has the synonymous name Grevillea arenaria subsp. montana (R.Br.) McGill.

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 grevilleas regenerate from the seedbank but coppicing growth can also occur after fire.

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.

montana – from Latin montanus, meaning “of the mountains”. This is considered a very strange epithet as it does not grow in mountainous country but rather on lower terrain in the Hunter Valley. APS member and Grevillea expert, Peter Olde OAM, investigated the origins of the collection and description of this plant and has drafted up his findings in newsletters. It is likely that several collections of this and other grevilleas were made early on and that details regarding specimen origins were mixed up or lost. It may that Robert Brown, the original author, assumed the type specimen came from elsewhere; and that the type introduced into horticulture as early as 1803, may have been different.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Grevillea montana profile page

Australian Native Plants Society Australia (Inc) – Grevillea Study group Newsletter 104 https://anpsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/grev104.pdf

Australian Native Plants Society Australia (Inc) – Grevillea Study group Newsletter 105 https://anpsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/grev105.pdf

By Jeff Howes and Mark Abell. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke