Grevillea raybrownii

Ray’s Grevillea

Family: Proteaceae

A shrub to 1.5 metres high.

It has a restricted distribution in the Greater Sydney Area, growing between Dapto, Robertson and Berrima in N.S.W (with possible occurrences in Bungonia). It grows in sandy, gravelly loams in dry sclerophyll forest, mostly on ridge tops and occasionally on slopes.

It is currently listed as threatened with extinction under both State and Commonwealth legislation.

Leaves are alternate along the stems, to 5 cm long, with 3 to 5 narrow lobes, each divided twice again, resulting in a heavily dissected leaf with narrow segments. The ultimate lobes are to 2.5 cm long and only 0.1 cm wide with the upper surface hairless and lower surface silky, with two grooves. Leaf lobes tips are spiny.

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 an ovoid raceme which are white, appearing in 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 perianth has rusty hairs outside, hairless inside. The carpels are to 7 mm long. The style is white in the lower half, lilac in the upper half and hairless. Flowers brown in bud.

The fruit is a follicle, covered with a layer of small silky hairs, red striped and blotched on part of the surface.

In the garden

This species has showy flowers and is drought-tolerant. It is suitable for in landscapes in full sun. Not much is known about its cultivation as it is a listed threatened species. It is grown in the Illawarra Grevillea Park and plants could be possibly be sourced from there. It may do well on a sandy soil or in a sandstone garden if plants can be sourced.

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”.

Grevillea raybrownii was first formally described in 1994 by Peter Olde and Neil Marriott and the description was published in the Boatnical Journal of the National Herbarium of NSW, Telopea.

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.

raybrownii – is in honour of Ray Brown OAM (1946 – ) to honour his work and long contribution to the horticulture and growing of Grevilleas. Ray runs the Illawarra Grevillea Park at Bulli.

This species is listed as threatened with extinction in the wild (Vulnerable) at both State and Commonwealth level.

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Threatened Species Profiles – Grevillea raybrownii profile page

Wikipedia – Grevillea raybrownii profile page                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevillea_raybrownii

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

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke