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Grevillea robusta (silky oak)

Silky oak is one of the finest flowering trees from Australia, with fern-like leaves and rich yellow, comb-like flowers in late spring.
Grevillea robusta tree in Yunnan

Grevillea robusta in Yunnan (Photo: Martyn Rix)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Grevillea robusta A.Cunn. ex R.Br.

Common name: 

silky oak, Australian silky oak

Conservation status: 

Not threatened.



Key Uses: 

Ornamental, shade tree, timber for furniture.

Known hazards: 

The leaves are poisonous and can cause skin irritation. Cases of severe dermatitis are rare, but have been reported.


Genus: Grevillea

About this species

Grevillea robusta was first described in 1830 by Allan Cunningham, who was employed by the Superintendent of Kew, William T. Aiton, to write Hortus Kewensis and was then sent by Kew to collect plants in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. Allan succeeded his brother Richard as Superintendent of the Botanic Garden in Sydney in 1836. In subtropical areas silky oak forms a large upright tree, with spreading lower branches. Its flowers, which open from October to December, are rich in nectar and attract birds and fruit bats. The seedlings, with their ferny foliage and silky new growth, make attractive houseplants.


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