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Giant Spear Lily

Doryanthes palmeri


An Australian native, the Giant Spear Lily is a flowering succulent herb endemic to northeast NSW and southeast Queensland. It grows in a rosette and the leaves can reach the length of about 3 m (10 ft). The flowers arise in springtime on a stalk which may reach 5 m (16 ft) in height. Its leaves are hairless and grow in the shape of a sword. I only saw these plants at the highest sections of the park, well above the subtropical rainforest of the gullies below. And I was so impressed to see how they clung to the cliff-face, growing in rock crevices. NB: This spotting was in winter, not spring. The flower stalks are early.


Along the Bare Rock Track, on the slopes of Mt. Cordeaux in Main Range National Park. Very cool and damp area on mountainside, and on top of much of the escarpment that I walked. Often misty and drizzling rain, and high winds. Growing in infertile lithosols or as lithophytes on bare rock.


This species is listed as Vulnerable under the New South Wales Threatened Species Act (1995). Here's an interesting study -

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 4 years ago

Very interesting plants, both of them. Both remind me of the octopus agave which also has the large flower spike. I've seen cultivated specimens of the Giant Spear Lily, but never in the wild. When they're in full flower they must look impressive, particularly when clinging to the mountainside. I'll make a return trip later in the year.

Analogous to the Yucca species endemic to North America. The dried fruit pods in last photo even look very similar to that of the Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata) when dried. The leaves are also similar in appearance however more ridged. Too bad it is listed as vulnerable, though interesting study.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Warwick, QLD, Australia

Spotted on Jun 23, 2015
Submitted on Jun 24, 2015

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