Xanthorrhoea nana   Dwarf Grass-tree Endemic

Xanthorrhoea nana

Without flowers, this perennial species just looks like a large clump of grass but all these grass trees have a single columnar flower which grows as high as the clump itself. This "dwarf" plant is still over 1 m tall.

The English name "Grass Tree" is a new one since this genus used to be called Black Boy - supposedly because of the similarity of the plant to an aboriginal boy holding a spear. This is of course politically incorrect now so a new inoffensive name had to be coined. Inoffensive to politicians maybe, but the Xanthorrhoea genus, once thought to belong to the Liliaceae family is now in a family of its own: Xanthorrhoeaceae. So true to the traditionally careless creation of vernacular plant names it should be noted that the Dwarf Grass Tree is neither a grass nor a tree but is definitely an effective source of confusion to anyone trying to identify wild Australian plants.


W.A. flower Soc Tour, Corrigin lookout, Wheat Belt, Western Australia 15th September 2007

Added on 30th October 2007, updated 25th February 2012

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