RBGS FloraAeonium arboreum subsp. holochrysum Broadleaf Sugarbush (Protea eximia) Glandular Globe Thistle (Echinops sphaerocephalus) Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media) Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) Koko (Soehrensia formosa) Lavender Queen (Leptospermum rotundifolium) Nepenthes mixta x maxima Orchids Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Sago Cycad (Cycas revoluta) St Johns Wort (Hypericum oblongifolium) Spider Hibiscus / Japanese Lantern (Hibiscus schizopetalus) Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis)

Commonly known as the Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), or Gulgadya in the Cadigal language. There is reference to the grass tree being called Cadi, which was also the name of the area of the Sydney CBD (that includes the botanic garden).

Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW
Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW

Xanthorrhoea media is a medium sized grass tree, whose flowers are borne on a long spike above a bare section called a scape. The flower spike can measure between 90 cm to 2 metres tall (although the flowers only make up approximately 1/6 of the total height of the flower spike).

The follow spikes are popular with a variety of insects, providing nectar and pollen.

Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW
Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW

The Xanthorrhoea media occurs from Stony Hill to Hilltop on the central coast of NSW, as far north-west as Sandy Hollow. Their natural habitat is on sandstone, usually on the drier, more exposed ridges and hillsides.

Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW
Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney NSW

These flowering plants are endemic to Australia and was used by Aboriginal people in a number of ways, including making weapons, cutting implements and for food.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Charophyta
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Magnmoliidae
  • Superorder: Lilianae
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Subfamily: Xanthorrhoeoideae
  • Genus: Xanthorrhoea
  • Species: Xanthorrhoea media

Footnote & References

  1. Xanthorrhoea media, Grass Tree, Gulgadya (Cadigal), The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, https://rbgsydney.gardenexplorer.org/taxon-4359.aspx
  2. You are in Cadi: Uncovering the story of the Gadigal, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/stories/2018/you-are-in-cadi-uncovering-the-story-of-the-gadiga
  3. Grass Trees – Grass or Trees?, Centennial Parklands, https://www.centennialparklands.com.au/learn/school-programs/classroom-resources/primary-classroom-resources/roots-shoots-flowers-and-fruits/grass-trees-grass-or-trees

RBGS FloraAeonium arboreum subsp. holochrysum Broadleaf Sugarbush (Protea eximia) Glandular Globe Thistle (Echinops sphaerocephalus) Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea media) Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) Koko (Soehrensia formosa) Lavender Queen (Leptospermum rotundifolium) Nepenthes mixta x maxima Orchids Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Sago Cycad (Cycas revoluta) St Johns Wort (Hypericum oblongifolium) Spider Hibiscus / Japanese Lantern (Hibiscus schizopetalus) Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis)

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