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Plantidote of the Day 2012-07-02

twig's picture

grass tree


Grass tree, kangaroo tail

Look closely and you'll see that these are not cattails, which is what I thought they were at first. These Australian natives are very happy here in Zone 10, but they should also do well in 9 and 11, too. Grass trees are easy to grow and extremely drought tolerant, but they do not like to be moved.

Some other interesting facts about grass trees. One, they are coveted by collectors, even though they grow so slowly that it takes as long as 30 years for the spikes to appear. Two, seed germination requires smoke from brush fires (not sure this is true). Three, there are dozens of varieties, but only a handful are grown in the U.S. Here's one of the more interesting ones -- 'Blackboy' (Xanthorrhoea preissi) named for its dark stem.


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the csomments.

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coyotecreek's picture
Submitted by coyotecreek on

Starting to look to see where/how to get 'em. Thanks for this beautiful post!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

They're really much more impressive than my picture. Maybe someday you'll have pics of your own for us. They should love your area!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

are like that -- they bloom after the wildfires sweep through an area, cracking the seeds open. Maybe this is a similar mechanism.

Interesting how all these things in nature have a way of working together.