Project Noah

Project Noah is a tool to explore and document wildlife and a platform to harness the power of citizen scientists everywhere.

Join Project Noah Today

Grass Trees

Xanthorrhoea sp. (possibly X. latifolia)

Description:

When I see Grass Trees I think of the Australian bush with all its quintessential sights, sounds, and smells. I'm inclined to think this particular spotting is Xanthorrhoea latifolia, simply because it is quite common in D'aguilar National Park. There are, however, 28 species and five subspecies of Xanthorrhoea. As well as Xanthorrhoea latifolia, other species which occur naturally in Queensland include: X. johnsonii, X. fulva, X. glauca, and X. macronema. The various Xanthorrhoea species would have originated in the times of Gondwana. Old-timers indeed!

Habitat:

Dense forest and heath on the ridge at Westridge Outlook in D'aguilar National Park west of Brisbane. Everything is lush and green and moist due to recent rains.

Notes:

The most widely known common name for Xanthorrhoea is Black Boy. This name refers to the purported similarity in appearance of the trunked species to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. Some people now consider this name to be offensive, or at least belonging to the past, preferring instead to use the name Grass Tree. The last photo in this series shows the velvety spear, and it's quite a weird looking thing. I would love to see the spear fruiting.

No species ID suggestions

13 Comments

Hema
Hema 5 years ago

Isiola is the place where Elsa and her sisters were first given to Joy by George. Now the place is stricken with so much poverty that people are mostly walking around drugged .It must have been quite diff in 1983? George Adamson was killed by poachers in 1984. When you saw him he was at least 85?
Out of 215 spotters.you are probably the one and only who has had a glimpse of George Adamson!! The great Legend!!I have become your follower!!
I often wonder about what happened to Elsa's cubs in the Serengeti and if Christian made it into the wild.
Did you visit Elsa's grave in Meru Park?
Joy Adamson's art work is another story!! Multi Talented person.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

He led a very interesting life. I saw him but didn't meet him. I had vehicle problems so was in Isiolo for a couple of days. A wild place and I didn't feel safe at all. It was my first trip to Africa in 1983. I was 21.

Hema
Hema 5 years ago

He was known as Baba Yi Simba.
I have read a lot of his books along with Joys and I do believe that he had a deep understanding of animals. He was a ranger for nearly 50 yrs.

Hema
Hema 5 years ago

Wow .did you really meet him in Isiolo? Were you visiting?

suzmonk
suzmonk 5 years ago

Neil, I see what you mean. A plant for which people have real, national pride and affection. But so slow-growing that it's hard, or impossible, to grow. What an interesting place Australia is ... thanks for explaining.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

I've heard of Ace Bourke and Christian, and their famous reunion video is classic, and it never ceases to make me smile. I've not been to Kora Reserve where Christian lived, but have been to Meru where Elsa lived. Joy Adamson's artwork is amazing, and is displayed in the Nairobi Museum. I saw George Adamson in a little town called Isiolo. Didn't have the opportunity to talk to him though. He was a very reclusive fellow.

Hema
Hema 5 years ago

Have you ever thought of meeting Ace Bourke? The man who brought up Christian the Lion? I would definitely try and meet him,if I lived in Australia.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

It's my pleasure, Suzanne. I think people steal them because they look really cool and are the perfect addition to any native garden, but... they are very slow-growing. I would guarantee the specimens in these photos are well over 100 years old, probably more, and for a fully grown specimen to reach maturity in an urban garden, well, we just don't live that long. Some plants are obtained legally through nurseries where plants have been removed because of land clearance and development, but there's also a thriving black market trade. They can also be pinched from your garden. Big bucks for mature plants!

suzmonk
suzmonk 5 years ago

So interesting to learn something about the plants that make up people's familiar landscapes in different parts of the world. Thanks for sharing Grass Trees, Neil. Question ... why do people steal them?

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

I'm not too sure. The only time I see these is when I go bushwalking, and I must admit I've not paid too much attention to them prior to PN.

C.Sydes
C.Sydes 5 years ago

the spear must be the inflorescence, does it hang around in bud for a long time before the little flowers open?

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

I'm sure they are. People will be people.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Love to see them with fresh, bright green tops. I sure hope people aren't still stealing them.

QLD, Australia

Lat: -27.36, Long: 152.76

Spotted on Jul 13, 2013
Submitted on Jul 14, 2013

Related spottings

Xanthorrhoea Xanthorrhoea quadrangulata Grass Tree Xanthorrhoea

Nearby spottings

Coachwood Fairy Bonnets (aka Fairy Inkcaps) Cabbage Tree Palm (groves) Giant Panda Snail