Grevillea 'Neil Bell'

Grevillea

Grevillea is a genus of about 360 species of evergreen shrubs, ranging from prostate forms to 100′ trees. The majority are endemic to Australia, with a few occurring on islands to the north. They have a wide variety of leaf forms ranging from spikes to deeply toothed leaves and some like ferns.

The species is closely related to Hakea and some botanists want to merge the two genera together. However, the Grevilleas are the ones most found in cultivation.

The individual flowers are quite small, but they are aggregated in clusters. Collectively they are showy. The flowers are one of three forms:

  • the spiders, where each blossom is spread out in a semi-random manner
  • toothbrush where all the flowers are arranged on one side of the branch
  • brush in which there are several rows of flowers.

Many species and cultivars bloom throughout the year, but most of them put on a concentrated bloom in Winter and Spring. The blossoms are attractive to hummingbirds and bees.

Each flower initially has a curled form. As the flowers develop, the styles straighten and create more of a bottlebrush effect.

Some Grevillea are quite hardy, while other want frost free conditions. In general, spiders tend to be more cold tolerant. They want conditions typical to other Proteas – full sun, drought tolerant once established, well drained, acidic, lean soil, with low humidity. No phosphorous should be provided.

Some Grevillea species cause dermatitis reactions in sensitive people. The suspected allergen, resorcinol, is very similar to the chemical found in poison ivy and poison oak.

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Pronunciation: grev-ILL-ee-uh

Name Derivation: Grevillea: named in honor of Charles Francis Greville, co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society

Common Name: Spiders

Grevillea is in the family Proteaceae.

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