Grevillea preissii

Spider-net Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

An erect to spreading shrub, to 2 metres tall by 3 metres wide. There are also some prostrate forms found in the wild.

It occurs along the west coast of Western Australia, between Bunbury and Cerventes. It grows mainly in heath and shrubland on sandy soil.

Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 6 cm long, strongly dissected into very fine segments (pinnatisect) with resulting forked portions, resulting in a leaf about 4 cm wide.

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 has inflorescences varying from spider-inflorescences to half-cylindrical, but which are a lot broader than long, to 3 cm long and 6 cm wide, mainly red to red-pink in colour with tinges of green. They occur in hanging clusters in the terminals and leaf axils, mainly in winter and spring.

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 perianths are bright red to red-pink.

The carpels are to 30 mm long, red with green tips.

In the garden

A very popular grevillea in times past. It does do well in humid east coast gardens but does not like overly wet conditions or high humidity. Can be grown as far north as south-east Queensland generally. Thrives in dry summer climates. Will respond better with a small amount of supplementary watering. Ensure soil is very well drained.

Give a full to part sun position and some room to spread out. It can be shaped into a rounded dense shrub, about 1.5 x 3 metres, with strategic pruning. It can produce profuse hanging clusters of inflorescences which will attract birds and insects.

Great for open beds, shrubberies and a feature plant.


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. This one can be done from seed. Seeds should be scored with a sharp knife to begin with to improve germination.

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”.

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

preissii – named by Carl Meissner after J A Ludwig Preiss (1811-1883) – a German-born British botanist and zoologist, who moved to Western Australia and collected 3,000 to 4,000 plant specimens for botanical study.

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

Western Australian Herbarium: Florabase – The Flora of Western Australia –                                        Grevillea preissii profile page https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/8839

Wikipedia – Grevillea preissii profile page

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 Dan Clarke