Grevillea patulifolia

Swamp Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

An erect to sprawling shrub to 2.5 m high, which can sucker from rhizomes.

It is naturally found on the NSW coast, primarily south from Heathcote to Ulladulla with a few records inland to the adjacent tablelands, extending south into Victoria where it is listed as rare. It tends to grow in moist heath and along creeklines in eucalypt woodland on sandy soils or sandstone.

Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 5 cm long and to 0.3 cm wide, upper surface granular or rough, margins bent down with lower surface exposed and hairy and with two grooves. Leaf tips are sharp with a mucro.

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 flowers pale pink to dark mauve-pink or white.
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 carpels are to about 1 cm long or shorter. Flowers occur in August to February and are in many-flowered clusters.

The fruit is a follicle, without hairs.

In the garden

No cultivation information is readily available for this species, as there are a lot of species and cultivars readily grown.
It appears very similar to Grevillea sericea (Pink Spider Flower) and grows in a very similar habitat. It may be able to be grown just as well on sandy soils with good drainage in full sun or part sun. Plants may be hard to source.

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 Aborigines 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”.

Appears similar to Grevillea sericea and G. linearifolia and grows in similar Sydney habitats.

Most Grevillea species will regenerate from seed after fire but can produce coppicing shoots at times.

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.

patulifolia – from the Latin patuli meaning “spreading” – referring to the spreading foliage of the species.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Grevillea patulifolia

Wikipedia – Grevillea patulifolia profile page                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_patulifolia

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke