A number of the plants which I thought were native grasses, have developed large flowering spikes, but others have remained flower free.  Keen to find out more about this, I consulted Denise Grieg’s excellent book ‘Field Guide to Australian Wildflowers‘ which I picked up last week.  An excellent reference!

According to Grieg, these plants are part of the grasstree family, and the one occurring on our property is a species of Xanthorrhoea, which  has un underground trunk, and grows in wet areas occurring on sandy soil.  So, I guess the clumps of these flower spikes indicate our wet areas.  There is a natural swamp which is located a few properties behind ours, so I imagine there will be many more growing down there. We will take some time to have a look in the next few days. It must be spectacular to see large clumps of these plants growing together.

More information about the genus Xanthorrhoea which I found interesting comes from George Adam’s book ‘Birdscaping Australian Gardens‘.  This book aims to match specific plants to the birds which feed on, or nest in them.  Adams states that Xanthorrhoea are a protected genus of plants,  and must not be removed.  While he does not specifically list Xanthorrhoea Resinosa, the three species he does list are food for honeyeaters, and I guess it would be the same for our plants.  We didn’t notice any birds on ours, but we certainly noticed they are attracting the ants!

Note:  Originally I had posted this under the title Xanthorrhoea Resinosa, as that was the only grass tree with an underground trunk shown in Grieg’s field guide.  Thanks to a comment from John, and also a new reference Leonard Cronin’s “Cronin’s Key Guide: Australian Wildflowers” I have changed references to Xanthorrhoea Resinosa to Xanthorrhoea Minor.  Thanks John.

Cronin’s Key Guide mentions that Xanthorrhoea Minor grows on poorly drained soil.

Xanthorrhoea Resinosa
The Xanthorrhoea Minor plant just looks like a native grass until the flower spike appears. Unlike other grass trees, the trunk grows underground.
Xanthorrhoea Resinosa
The flower spike on our plants, is just over a metre long, but can grow up to 2 metres long.
Xanthorrhoea Resinosa
Xanthorrhoea Minor grows in  poorly drained soill, so I guess this is the wet part of our bushland, as we don’t have them growing anywhere else.