Grevillea ramosissima subsp. ramosissima

Fan Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

A spreading shrub, to 3 metres high.

This subspecies is found naturally only in NSW, mainly on the tablelands and western slopes, south from Glen Innes and Inverell districts, to the Blue Mountains and the A.C.T, south to virtually the Victorian border.  Two subspecies are currently recognised (see notes below).

It grows in dry sclerophyll woodland on various acidic substrates, granites and clay-loams.

Branches hairy at least when young.

Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 10 cm long and to 8 cm wide. They have a distinctive and attractive holly-like appearance with lobes that are sharp-tipped and rigid. Upper leaf surface almost hairless, lower surface hairy with twisted or curly, often brownish, 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 produce the inflorescences mostly at the terminals, beyond the foliage, which differs to the closely related Hakea.

This species produces narrow cylindrical racemes, which are cream to pale yellow, to 5 cm long, predominantly in spring-summer.

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, carpels are to 5.5 mm long with the style cream to pale yellow and hairy.

The fruit is a follicle, hairy with reddish brown stripes or blotches.

In the garden

An attractive plant when flowering and the foliage adds an additional attraction. The shape of the inflorescences make it desirable. Suitable for screening and general planting in a light soil in an open sunny position and is drought and frost resistant. Not a great deal is known about its cultivation but seeds can be readily sourced online. Could be trialled on a range of soils with adequate drainage. Should be lightly pruned to create a denser shape and promote flowering.

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

Two subspecies are currently recognised (only this one profiled occurs in NSW):
Grevillea ramosissima subsp. ramosissima – occurs in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Grevillea ramosissima subsp. hypargyrea. This subspecies, endemic to Victoria, was first described by Victorian Government Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller. The subspecies is listed as “Rare in Victoria” on the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s Advisory List of Rare Or Threatened Plants In Victoria. Occurs at Pine Mountain, Cudgewa Bluff and Mount Mittamatite.

Occasionally intergrades with Grevillea triternata.

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 will regenerate from seed after fire but some exhibit coppicing growth from the base.

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.

ramosissima – from the Latin, ramosissum, meaning “branched”, referring to the much-branched habit of the plant.

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

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

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – Grevillea ramosissima profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/grevillea_ramosissima_subsp._ramosissima.htm

Wikipedia – Grevillea ramosissima profile page                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_ramosissima

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke