Grass Trees

Grass trees are found in a range of climates across Australia,  from WA to the NT and down to Tasmania.

Blackboys Grass Trees

I photographed the group of grass trees above on Stradbroke Island, east of Brisbane, Queensland, but I have equally enjoyed their presence near Perth in WA and in the hinterland to Byron Bay in northern NSW.

The 28 species of  Xanthorrhoea found in Australia grow painfully slow. At only a couple of centimeters a year, it can take 20 years for the trunk to start to appear under the grassy mop, so a a grass tree standing two metres could be 100 years old. Some live for as long as 600 years.

grass tree

Grass Tree, previously known as a Blackboy

They have in the past been known as Blackboys, which was originally based on the aboriginal name for the tree ‘Balga’ that means black boy, but was then colloquially applied due to the tree’s silhouetted resemblance, when in flower, of an Aboriginal holding a spear. The spear like flower that protrudes out of the top of the grassy sprouting foliage can grow up to four metres tall and can just be seen in my photo above.

Grass treesAren’t they wonderful 🙂

3 thoughts on “Grass Trees

  1. I asked the Question on our Facebook Page:
    where had any of our fans spotted a grass tree (or two!!)
    Had some fabulous replies which I’ll add to this post:

    “There are beautiful grass trees on the Great Ocean Walk between Castle Cove & Johanna Beach, Victoria – like a fairy garden”
    Sugg by Annabel from:

    “Australian grass trees a feature of Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk. These grass trees are past Castle Cove jjust after you climb up a short spur before you reach the cliffs studded with she oaks – from here you have a gorgeous section through stringybark then wonderful grass trees till you head down through the tea tree and coastal bearded heath to Johanna beach”
    Sugg by Andrew from:

    “We have xanthorrhoeas growing down south of Adelaide at Deep Creek Conservation Park and surrounds, the polished wood of the flowers stalk quite remarkable!”
    Sugg by Roy with this further link:

    “Grass Trees Escape in Arakoon, near South West Rocks NSW was named after it’s Grass Trees”
    Sugg by Nicole from

    “There are quite a few GrassTrees on the coastal Captain Cook Hwy between Cairns and Port Douglas. They look amazing and are especially visible after backburning early in the year… doing the drive alone is worth it – but it’s hard to take your eyes off the ocean view!”
    Sugg by Tourism Port Douglas & Daintree from:

    “I just thought I’d share another place to find Grass Trees… at Coomba Falls near Maidenwell Qld. It’s about 200km from Brisbane near the Bunya Mountains.”
    Sugg by Jane from:

    Love hearing from you all
    Thanks 🙂

  2. Pingback: 5 Local Places I Love | Journey Jottings

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