Grevillea mucronulata

Green Spider Flower

Family: Proteaceae

Grevillea mucronulata is a spreading to erect shrub which usually grows up to 2 m high.

Its primary natural range is from the upper Hunter Region around Denman and Singleton, west to Rylstone, south-east through the Sydney region, to about Dapto and Bowral, with some disjunct occurrences southward along the coast towards Eden in N.S.W.

It grows in dry sclerophyll forest, on nutrient-poor soils ranging from sandy to clayey, based on sandstone to shale or rarely granite.

It has reddish branchlets which are densely covered with hairs.

Leaves are soft, hairy, elliptic to 4 cm long and to 1.5 cm wide, mid-green, concave below and ending in a small pointed tip (mucro). The underside of the leaves have a sparse to dense coating of 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 species is a spider-flower with green inflorescences appearing predominantly from May to October. Each cluster is composed of 6 to 18 individual flowers and measures 2.5 to 5.5 cm long overall.

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 up to 2 cm long; pale or yellow-green and covered with fine hairs.

The style is up to 3 cm long, is a red or maroon colour, and tipped with a green pollen-presenter. The perianth darkens with age. Hence, every flower has a stunning range of colours when viewed closely. They can produce large amounts of nectar.

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

In the garden

This is a very attractive shrub to grow and it is grown successfully by some members of Australian Plants Society. As the green flowers are camouflaged within the foliage, this species has not proved as popular in horticulture as other species and cultivars within the genus. However, the flowers generate much interest with their unusual colour.

A hardy plant in full sun in well drained soils. Not likely to thrive on heavier soils.
Can be kept as a tight dense shrub and can be contained to less than 1 m tall. Has very attractive foliage.

In a garden situation, grevilleas are good bird-attracting 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

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”.

Joseph Banks collected G. mucronulata in April 1770 at Botany Bay, making it the first member of the genus to be discovered.

Grevillea mucronulata is closely related to Grevillea kedumbensis, which has more granular leaves and a style covered with fine hair and keeled perianth (is the sterile parts of a flower; collectively, the sepals and petal).

Most Grevillea species will regenerate from seed after fire but can produce copping shoots.

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.

mucronulata – Latin – diminutive of mucronulatus meaning “with a small point” and relates to the small pointed apex of the leaf which is comprised of hardened tissue.

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

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

Australian Plants Society – Coastal Plants of the Royal National Park – Grevillea mucronulata profile https://sutherland.austplants.com.au/rnp/pl188.htm

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