Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’

(cultivar)

Family: Proteaceae

A shrub that grows to 2 metres high by 2 wide. The cultivar is a cross between a white-flowered form of the Queensland species Grevillea banksii, and G. bipinnatifida from Western Australia. It was selected from a plant which arose in a garden in Logan Village, a southern suburb of Brisbane in 1997 and was raised and propagated by Queensland horticulturists and SGAP members Dennis Cox and Janice Glazebrook, finally being patented in 2006 and now has PVR accreditation.

It has bright green, attractive, deeply divided leaves to 12 centimetres long by 7 centimetres in width. The foliage takes on a bronze sheen in winter, especially the new growth.

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 has a cylindrical raceme, with inflorescences to about 15 centimetres long by 9 centimetres wide. They open yellow initially but later add various shades of pink and orange.

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. The carpels are to 40 mm long, yellow-green with red tips.

In the garden

A very attractive plant for a garden situation with well-drained soil and full sun.

Most of the available literature, as well as plant labels, state it is a small plant growing to 1.2 m high. This is not the case in the author’s garden where it has reached a height of 2 m before being hard pruned back to one metre high. It shoots from old wood and the plant has grown back to its original height in one year. It is growing in a north facing garden with no additional watering in dry spells.

Although not yet recorded, the cultivar is very similar to several cultivars which have been known to cause allergic contact dermatitis for certain individuals who come into contact with it, so caution is advised. Very good cut flower, harvest when the inflorescence is in bud rather than full-flowered. The inflorescences are of a good large size.

Propagation

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 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”.

Grevilleawas 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.

Peaches and Cream’ is a fitting name for the mixed colours of the inflorescences.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_%27Peaches_and_Cream%27
https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-peaches-and-cream-grevillea/

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke