Grevillea longifolia

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Grevillea longifolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Proteales
Family: Proteaceae
Genus: Grevillea
Species: G. longifolia
Binomial name
Grevillea longifolia

Grevillea longifolia (Fern-leaf spider flower) is a plant of the family Proteaceae, formerly known as Grevillea aspleniifolia. Commonly growing in the Sydney basin of central New South Wales, Australia Grevillea longifolia is recognizable by its deep red "toothbrush" flowers which appear in spring, and narrow, sawtoothed leaves. It is fairly readily grown in gardens.


The prolific botanist Robert Brown described Grevillea longifolia in 1830 in his Supplementum primum prodromi florae Novae Hollandiae, the specimen having been collected by George Caley somewhere in Port Jackson (Sydney) near the river.[1] Karel Domin relegated it to a subspecies of Grevillea aspleniifolia,[2] but the consensus is for it as a distinct species.[1] Its name is derived from the Latin words longus "long" and folium "leaf", and refers to the long leaves.[3]


Grevillea longifolia grows as a shrub anywhere from 1.5 to 5 m (4.9 to 16.4 ft) high. It has long narrow leaves 10–22 cm (4–8.5 in) long and 1–2 cm (0.5–1 in) wide. The leaves have coarsely toothed margins.[4] Appearing from July to January and peaking in September,[5] the inflorescences are 4–7.5 cm (1.6–3.0 in) long and composed of scores of smaller individual flowers,[4] arranged in a "toothbrush" pattern.[3] Flowering is followed by hairy seedpods, which are prone to predation.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Grevillea longifolia is restricted to the Sydney basin, particularly the southern areas and Woronora Plateau. It is found in the Heathcote and Royal National Parks,[4] but has vanished from the Burwood and Carlton districts where it once grew.[5] It grows on Hawkesbury Sandstone and yellow clay soils, often along riverbanks and streams. It grows in shaded or part-shaded situations in woodland or forest.[5] It grows under such trees as blue leaved stringybark (Eucalyptus agglomerata), Sydney peppermint (E. piperita), stringybark (E. oblonga), smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata) and red bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera), and shrubs such as gymea lily (Doryanthes excelsa), and near creeks with such shrubs as Lomatia myricoides, watergum Tristania neriifolia, kanooka (Tristaniopsis laurina) and trees blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) and coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum).[5]


Grevillea longifolia adapts readily to cultivation, and can be propagated vegetatively by cutting as plants have a tendency to hybridise, making seed parentage unclear.[3] It is grown commercially in the south of France for its foliage. It is sometimes sold mistakenly labelled as G. aspleniifolia.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Grevillea longifolia R.Br". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  2. ^ "Grevillea aspleniifolia var. longifolia (R.Br.) Domin". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  3. ^ a b c ANBG staff (1975). "Grevillea longifolia". Growing Native Plants. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian National Botanic Gardens, Australian Government. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c R. O. Makinson. "New South Wales Flora Online: Grevillea longifolia". Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Benson, Doug; McDougall, Lyn (2000). "Ecology of Sydney Plant Species Part 7b: Dicotyledon families Proteaceae to Rubiaceae" (PDF). Cunninghamia. 6 (4): 1017–1202. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-06-27. 
  6. ^ Wrigley, John; Fagg, Murray (1991). Banksias, Waratahs and Grevilleas. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. p. 277. ISBN 0-207-17277-3.