Scientific Name: Grevillea victoriae
Common Names: royal grevillea
Plant Type: Perennial shrub
Environment: Well drained soil, full sun
Bloom: Orange buds opening to red
Uses: Screen or border plant
Grevillea victoriae F. Muell, or royal grevillea, is a medium to large shrub native to Victoria and New South Wales, Australia. G. victoriae was first described in 1855 by Ferdinand Mueller, a German botanist. Mueller emigrated to Australia in 1847 and soon after was appointed as the government botanist for the state of Victoria. During this time, he explored widely in the Buffalo Ranges, where he found G. victoriae growing on Mt. Buffalo (known to Mueller as Mt. Aberdeen, not knowing the peak was previously named). Further expeditions found the taxon growing at high altitudes along rivers on mountains in the region. On top of discovering hundreds of new species in Victoria, Mueller also established the National Herbarium of Victoria. To this day the herbarium is home to many of Mueller’s original discoveries in addition to plants from around the world.
The original description of G. victoriae note the majesty of this plant that could be seeing growing over 12 ft in the wild. In cultivation it generally is seen with a bushier, shorter habit. The species is also noted for the gray tone of the leaves, which provides a striking contrast to the bright red and orange flowers. The flowers are often loaded with nectar and are a large draw for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Once established G. victoriae is also known to be quite drought tolerant. Given its native range in the alpine regions of Victoria and New South Wales, G. victoriae is also known to be one of the more cold hardy species of Grevillea.
There are two accepted subspecies of G. victoriae: Grevillea victoriae subsp. brindabella, and Grevillea victoriae subsp. nivalis. The subspecies nivalis has a broader altitudinal range than other members of Grevillea victoriae and can occur at altitudes up to 1900 m above sea level. Grevillea victoriae subsp. brindabella occurs only in the Brindabella mountain range in New South Wales.
IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS: Text and photos by Victoria Stewart.