Friday, December 15, 2006
X is for Xanthorrhoeaceae
I bring you Xanthorrhoeaceae - otherwise known as the grass tree, or in an earlier, less politically correct era, black boys. They are quite a common plant around many areas in Australia (and Xanthorrhoeaceae is a genus, so there are other types). It is prolific in the Brisbane Ranges, which are nowhere near Brisbane but are quite near Geelong, where my mother lives, so sometimes we come home that way when we have visited her. I have always liked their slightly improbably shape and their contrast of texture - the fine grass and the big spikey thing growing out of it. In bushfires the spikey thing (can't remember the botanical name here, but it has the flowers growing on it - the pistil, perhaps?) explodes in the heat, with exciting consequences.