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Xanthorrhoea johnsonii

Australian natives can be used in many ways - but some of our more architectural species like the grass trees and Gymea liliy excel when placed in a contemporary garden setting.

In the 'Room with a View' installation we have used grass trees in raised rammed earth beds. The unusual setting lifts the plants from ground level to eye level, adds the contrast of terracotta walls against the sky and increases the plant’s impact - making a dramatic horticultural statement. The starburst shape of the grass tree’s leaves add a softness to the overall picture.

Grass trees prefer well-drained soil and a full sun position. If your soil is not suitable, then raised beds filled with a free-draining soil mix will remedy the situation. In cooler areas, hard surfaces such as paving and brick walls can create sun-traps which will help the plant perform well.

Common namegrass tree
Scientific nameXanthorrhoea johnsonii A.T. Lee

Genus: From the Greek, xanthos, yellow; and rheo, to flow. Alluding to the resin that flows from the stem.

Species: After Lawrence A.S. Johnson, 20th century botanist and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney from 1972 to 1985.

DistributionWidespread in eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.
Native habitatOccurs in well-drained soils in open forest and heath.
DescriptionDwarf to tall, tree-like perennial.
Flowering/fruitingFlowers April to December.
Location in gardenIn Bed 279 at Lakeside and in Bed 29 in the Connections Garden.
Garden ExplorerView Xanthorrhoea johnsonii on Garden Explorer