This graceful member of the Doryanthaceae is native to the coastal areas of northern New South Wales and Queensland. Another common name is the Queensland mountain lily.
The numerous sword-like leaves, up to 2m long, are arranged in dense rosettes which eventually form large clumps with thickened underground stems and contractile roots which pull the plant closer to the ground during dry weather.
The brilliant red funnel-shaped flowers are produced on a leafy stem some 3m long and the fruit is a woody 3-celled capsule containing several flat seeds.
Although the seed germinates readily, Doryanthes palmeri grows very slowly, taking many years to reach flowering size.
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You can see the spear lily in the Temperate House
Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Doryanthes palmeri