Six interesting facts about Grevillea trees you probably didn't know

Posted on January 10, 2022

Grevillea robusta, a great tree species recommended for its ability to conserve the environment and fight climate change, is probably one of the most interesting of evergreen types. Mind you, PlantVillage is on the course of planting 3 million of them in counties across Kenya, and here are some of the facts that make this tree top-notch.

 Photo taken from one of the batches of Grevillea tree seedlinds PlantVillage has been distributing to farmers in Kenya | Photo- PV

1. There is someone behind it, of course

Grevillea is latinized from the name of Charles Francis Greville, one of the founders of the Royal Horticultural Society, due to his role of botany in the society. The name comes from his family name, Greville, and is latinized as Grevillea.

2. You can call it anything you want, apparently

Remember calling your teacher a scumbag and laughing every time he or she reappeared? Your friends could probably be having a stinky one for you as well. Grevillea too has nicknames, only that they sound better than the ones they have given you. The tree can be referred to as spider flower, silky oak, toothbrush plant, silver oak, southern silky oak or Australian silver oak, depending on what sounds nice to you. 

You can even call it gluveria, as per the Kenyan code!

3. They are also a family

There are over 360 species of Grevillea robusta found in different parts of the world. Grevillea 'Superb', Grevillea 'Elegance', Grevillea semperflorens, Grevillea intricata, Grevillea 'Honeybird Yellow', Grevillea 'Lana Maree', Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream', and Grevillea 'Golden Lyre' are some of the most common species recommended to be planted on farms.

The Honeybird series of a Grevillea species | Photo- courtesy

4. It has nectar that you can literally drink

For those who like adventure, the flowers of this evergreen tree contain sweet nectar that humans can drink. However, it depends on the type or rather cultivar, for some have poisonous nectar that contains a chemical called cynaide, which is also found in poisonous cassava.

Some species of Grevillea produce nectar that you can actually drink | Photo- courtesy

5. It wants to reach for the stars too

We probably have people in our neighborhoods who are crazy tall. Grevillea, too, can grow to be as tall as 50 cm to 30 meters in height and 80 cm in diameter in its natural range and erect posture. Leaves grow to 10–34 cm long and 9–15 cm wide.

These tall massive trees stand in the farm of Medina, a lead farmer with PlantVillage in Kanduyi, Bungoma County | Photo- PV

6. It can be a good indoor decoration

Do you think rose flowers are the best because of their monopoly in the flower business? You are wrong! Some florists would prefer to use Grevillea flowers in bouquets and floral decor. One of the species has beautiful pink flowers, large and cylindrical, which can grow up to 15 cm, making a perfect spectacle for a decoration. Who wouldn't go for that? 

Flowers of the Grevillea tree can make good indoor decorations | Photo- courtesy

- Written by Sam Oduor

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