Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'


Family: Proteaceae

A cultivar with a very popular history. It is a shrub growing to 2 x 2 metres and has a dense, compact habit.

It is the one of the resulting offspring of G. banksii x G. bipinnatifida.

Leaves are dark to light green, and strongly divided (pinnatisect) with resulting toothed segments; to about 15 cm long by 8 cm wide, and somewhat prickly. The lower sides are covered with silvery hairs, contrasting strongly from the upper side.

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 an ovoid raceme (wider at the base), with inflorescences to about 12 cm long by 8 cm wide. They are bright red, with tinges of yellow, and can be produced profusely, over most of the year. Inflorescences are grey-red in bud (adding more contrast) and are produced most of the year.

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 cultivar, the carpels are to 40 mm long, bright red with red tips. The perianths are bright red with hints of yellow at the tips.

In the garden

A very hardy grevillea which has made it very popular in times past. Also very attractive to birds.

Works well as a feature plant, as a stand-alone in a lawn or other landscape but can also be integrated with other plants. It flowers all year round, which makes it desirable. Tolerates a range of soils, so long as drainage is adequate and will grow in a wide range of climates. Plant in full sun or part shade.

Can be used as a low hedge.

Prune lightly to shape and encourage flowering as well as to control its form.

This cultivar has previously held the position “Best Selling Australian Shrub”.


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”.

This cultivar is very similar to several other cultivars which have been known to cause allergic contact dermatitis for certain individuals who come into contact with it, so caution is advised.

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.

Robyn Gordon’- named after the daughter of David Gordon AM (1899-2001), the founder of Myall Park Botanic Garden at Glenmorgan, Queensland, and Australian native plant breeder and expert as well as conservationist. Robyn Gordon died at 16 years of age, shortly after this cultivar was named.

Gardening with Angus – Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ 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.

Australian Native Plants Society – Australia – Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/grevillea-robyn-gordon/

By Dan Clarke