Xanthorrhoea Resinosa

Xanthorrhoea Minor

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.

2 thoughts on “Xanthorrhoea Minor

  1. Sorry if I seem a over critical but the only grass-trees which grow in the Ballarat area are Xanthorrhoea australis Austral Grass-tree, which has a trunk and leaves with a rhombic or diamond cross section and Xanthorrhoea minor Small Grass-tree which has no above ground stem and triangular section leaves. The one you have photographed is Xanthorrhoea minor.

    The best reference for trees and shrubs is Leon Costermans: Native Trees and Shrubs of South-Eastern Australia. Another handy one is Clive & Merle Trigg: Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges which has many of the common plants found south of Ballarat.

    I hope you do not mind my suggestions – learning the names of the many plants in this area is a long process. The Field Naturalists Club of Ballarat has helped me greatly.

    1. Hi John,

      I would rather my post be accurate, so thank you for commenting. I will change the name of the plant to Xanthorrhoea Minor. I have the Costermans book but not the other one, so I will search for this. Yes, I have been looking at the Field Natualist Club website, and am considering coming along to their next meeting. Thanks again, Lisa

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