Glauca Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea glauca)
The Xanthorrhoea Glauca Grass Tree is the ultimate in Grass Trees. This unusual and iconic tree has a special place in the heart of many Australians and we believe that there is no finer native specimen that you could add to your landscape.
Native to New South Wales, the Glauca Grass Tree has a growth rate of only 1-2cm per year but it can grow to over 6 metres tall. We have examples of Glauca Grass Trees on our property which are over 600 years old!
The Xanthorrhoea Glauca variety is the only Grass Tree with the much sought after thick, blue-grey foliage which makes it a standout amongst all Grass Trees.
We are fully licensed by the New South Wales Office of Environment & Heritage to sustainably harvest the Glauca Grass Tree from our property in Northern New South Wales.
Our Grass Trees grow in a micro-climate 1100 metres above sea level and when you walk around the property they make you feel as though you’re stepping back into prehistoric times. The temperature on our property varies from -5 to +45 degrees, but Glauca Grass Trees can survive all climates.
We have a wide range of Glauca Grass Trees available, from 20cm up to 2 metres tall. One of the unique features of our Glauca Grass Trees is the thickness of the stem. We have trees which are only 50cm tall but have a stem diameter of 40cm and some of our larger trees can be as wide as 60-70cm in diameter.
We specialise in multi-headed Glauca Grass Trees. Some have multiple stems coming straight from the ground; others have a single stem with multiple heads at the top. We have some truly amazing specimens.
The Glauca Grass Tree is the most hardy of all Grass Trees, it has an exceptionally high survival rate. This is unfortunately not a feature of other Grass Tree varieties – in particular the Xanthorrhoea johnsonii Grass Tree. Because of this high survival rate we are able to offer a 12 month survival guarantee with each of our Glauca Grass Trees.
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Glauca Grass Tree: Planting
As a long-living, slow-growing tree, when you plant a Glauca Grass Tree you are planting for future generations. It is therefore wise to give careful consideration to the choice of planting position. It makes an excellent feature tree as part of a rockery, or within a dry/water-wise garden scheme. It can be planted directly into the ground or in containers.
It prefers a well drained, aerated soil with a low nutrient content and a sunny position. Full sun is best but it can tolerant light shade. It should ideally be planted in a sheltered spot where it is protected from strong or cold winds.
In its natural habitat, the Glauca Grass Tree is often found growing on the steep sides of gorges giving us a clue to its planting preferences – it does not like to have its roots sat in water. Therefore, when planting in pots, add sand or gravel to the potting mix and raise the pot slightly off the ground so that the water can run freely away from the base.
If planting directly into the ground, this tree is best placed on top of a mound with sand or gravel incorporated into the soil around the planting area. These practices will help to aid drainage and prevent root rot.
It is also important to ensure that the top of the rootball is planted to the same depth in its new home as it was in its original pot; burying the trunk below soil level can encourage rotting.
For trees that are planted directly into the ground, keep them well watered for the first few months, then reduce the amount of watering gradually over time as the plant becomes established. Pot-grown plants will always need regular watering.
Whilst your new plant is establishing itself in its new home, it is a good idea to remove any flower spikes that appear. Flowering takes a lot of energy from the plant and it is more beneficial for the tree if this energy goes into root growth rather than flowering during the first year or two.
Glauca Grass Tree: Ongoing Care & Maintenance
Minimal ongoing care and maintenance is required as the Glauca Grass Tree is generally pest and disease free and, being heat and drought tolerant, it requires very little water. If watering is necessary, for example in a pot-grown specimen, always water from the base. Watering at the crown will cause it to rot.
The Glauca Grass Tree requires no pruning but as the older leaves die off they can form a skirt around the trunk which can be removed. In the natural environmental, the size of this ‘skirt’ is a good indicator of when the last wild fire occurred. The longer and thicker the skirt, the greater length of time since the last fire.
Glauca Grass Tree: Propagation
The Glauca Grass Tree can be propagated from seed.
Seed pods form from around October onwards. Collect them when they are ripe and ensure that they have fully dried out before removing the seeds.
Sow seeds shallowly into a free-draining compost and cover with a layer of coarse sand. This will help to keep the seed in contact with the potting mix. Keep moist but do not water excessively.
Glauca Grass Tree: Taxonomy and naming
Genus: Xanthorrhoea (From Greek ‘xanthos’ meaning yellow and ‘theo’ meaning to flow – a reference to the yellow resin that flows from the stem)
Species: glauca (a reference to the blue-green glaucous leaves)
Xanthorrhoea glauca subsp. glauca,
Xanthorrhoea glauca subsp. angustifolia
Grass Tree, Grey Grass Tree, Black Boy, Yacca.
Glauca Grass Tree: History
The Xanthorrhoea glauca Grass Tree is an unusual and iconic plant that has played a large part in aboriginal history, is seen in numerous colonial artworks and is a modern day inspiration to landscape architects.
The common name of ‘Grass Tree’ was given because these trees are monocots that are able to form a trunk. The trunk is developed from the old leaf bases and its naturally occurring resin.
Glauca Grass Tree: Distribution and Habitat
The Xanthorrhoea glauca Grass Tree is endemic to Australia. It is found growing wild along the south east coast and extending inland through Victoria, New South Wales and South Eastern Queensland. It occurs in large numbers on rocky ranges and is occasionally seen in large communities among woodland, or on the steep sides of gorges. It is usually found growing in shallow basaltic soils but has also been found in serpentine soils, sandstone, deep coastal sands and hummocky grassland.
Glauca Grass Tree: Appearance
The Xanthorrhoea glauca Grass Tree is a beautiful, ancient, evergreen tree. It forms a wonderful trunk with single or branched stems and it is topped with shaggy, rounded heads that are made up of hundreds of long, sword shaped glaucous leaves. They provide a wonderful element of texture to the garden and anyone with an appreciation of architectural plants cannot fail to be impressed.
Although the growth rate is small at only 1-2cm per year, it is one of the tallest trees in its Genus. It can reach heights of over 6 metres and a width of around 3 metres.
The black, burnt looking trunk is made up of old leaf bases which become glued together by the resin contained within them. The trunk can be from 1-5 metres high and can be either single or multi-stemmed.
Leaves are strap like, linear in shape. They measure approximately 3-4mm wide and 0.9-2.6mm thick. They are a blue-grey, glaucous colour and can grow to a length of around 1-2 metres.
Tall flower spikes appear on woody scapes (stalks) from June to October. The scape can measure around 0.5-1 metre long and 2-4.5cm in diameter. The flower spike itself grows to between 1-2 metres in length. Each flower spike contains numerous small white flowers with brown bracts.
The growth of a flower spike although spectacular, consumes a huge amount of the trees energy. This means that flower spikes may not appear every year like clockwork so do not worry you have a season without flowers.
Glauca Grass Tree: Conservation
The Glauca Grass Tree is a protected species and harvesting from the wild is strictly regulated; it is therefore essential that you buy only from licensed and experienced growers. We are fully licensed by The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage to sustainably harvest the Glauca Grass Tree.
Glauca Grass Tree: Ecology
The nectar rich flowers of the Glauca Grass Tree attract a wide range of insects, birds and mammals. It is especially fire-resistant and is often one of the first plants to regrow after a wildfire as the live growing tip is usually protected by the old, dead leaf base.
Glauca Grass Tree: Uses
The Glauca Grass Tree was widely used by Aboriginal people.
The nectar-rich flower spike was soaked in water to make a sweet, slightly fermented drink. The live leaves and white leaf bases were eaten.
The flower spikes were dried and used as spear shafts for fishing and as fire sticks. The seed pods when dried made useful cutting implements.
The resin found at the base of the leaves is extremely useful as a glue which had many applications in weapon making. It was also used to patch up holes and cracks in water containers.
Po Box 7288 Wilberforce 2756 Australia
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Mobile – 0420 552 337
Phone – 1300 220 002
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