Austral Grass-tree - Xanthorrhoea australis
by Marilyn Maddy-Byrne
The Austral Grass-tree is the most commonly seen Xanthorrhoea growing around Anglesea. Its fire blackened trunk can grow up to 3 meters tall and is often branched. Its Koorie name is Bukkup or Kawee.
In grass trees the cross section shape of a leaf is an important feature in the initial identification of the species of Xanthorrhoea.
In the case of the Austral Grass-tree, the cross section of the leaf is roughly diamond shaped. The foliage is a bluish green (glaucous).
The Austral Grass-tree is not often seen in bloom. It is a species that relies on fire to stimulate its reproductive cycle.
On the flowering spike, if present, the flowers occur along more than half of the length of the spike. Sometimes flowers can cover 5/6 of the stem. An important feature of the flower is its six petals. You'll notice one in the photo to the right.
X.australis has a softer, less rigid foliage than other Xanthorrhoea. The old leaves generally hang down, skirt like, partly concealing the blackened trunk. The crown of leaves will be almost spherical in shape, the point of each leaf perfectly marking the shape of the imagined sphere.
X.australis flowers from July to December, but young plants can flower in June. This species also occurs in South Australia, the southern coast of New South Wales and Tasmania.