A cultivar with a popular history. It is a shrub growing to about 2 x 2 metres and with a dense, compact habit with pruning.
It is the one of the resulting offspring of a deliberate cross of a white form of G. banksii x and a red form of G. bipinnatifida and was introduced by Mr M Hodge of Moorooka, Queensland.
Leaves are dark to light green, and strongly divided (pinnatisect) to about 15 cm long by 8 cm wide, with resulting segments about 0.7 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-orange and yellow, and can be produced profusely, over most of the year.
Inflorescences are green-red-purple in bud with dense hairs (adding more contrast).
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-orange with yellow tips. The perianths start off yellow-orange but ripen to red-orange/red.
A very hardy grevillea which has made it very popular in times past. Also very attractive to birds. It is reportedly more vigorous than ‘Robyn Gordon’.
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 spot-flowers most of the year, 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.
Prune only lightly to create a dense shrub and it can be rounded off nicely.
Can be used as a low hedge or screen
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.
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.
This cultivar was featured on a 50c postage stamp in about 2003.
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 – 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.
‘Superb’– The exact reason for this name is unknown but it is assumed it is for the general aspects of the plant plus its hardiness.
Australian National Botanic Gardens – Australian Cultivar Registration Authority – Grevillea ‘Superb’ 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.
Gardening with Angus – Grevillea ‘Superb’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/grevillea-superb-grevillea/