Grevillea robusta (PROTEACEA) Silky Oak

Plants to Plant

Tree to 40 m tall, often less, common in subtropical to dry rainforest, wet sclerophyll forest, on the coast and inland ranges north of Coffs Harbour district, NSW. When full grown pyramidal in shape with heavy horizontal limbs and a thick trunk. Ferny, grey-green leaves are silvery beneath. Flowers are golden-orange, bottlebrush-like, to 15 cm long in spring, on a 2-3 cm long stem. The seeds mature in late winter to early spring, fruiting on dark brown leathery dehiscent follicles, about 2 cm long, with one or two flat, winged seeds. Was harvested extensively for joinery work because it is resistant to rotting. It was also popular for making furniture. Used in musical instrument making, as a top for the acoustic Stompbox and guitar inlays by Ellis Guitars.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Silky oak produces germination supressors in its leaves not only for its own offspring but for other plants as well. This is why you see them at intervals along creeks, not in clumps. There seems no need to plant Silky Oak in the Enoggera Catchment, as it self sows readily and is quite common.

Photo: Robert Whyte


Grevillea after C. F. Greville, (1749-1809), a noted British algologist (one who studies algae) and one of the founders of the Royal Horticultural Society, robusta from Latin robustus meaning strong, hardy, robust. It is the largest Grevillea. Other names include Tuggan-Tuggan, Bur’uda, Protea Plant, Warra-Garria, Koomkabang.
Photo: Robert Whyte


Detail of photo of G. robusta flowers by Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Lisboa, Portugal from Wikipedia Commons under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Photo: Joaquim Alves Gaspar