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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Plant of the Month: Silver Grass Trees

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, September 2, 2015/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, photography, environment, plants

Found in small, isolated groves in Western Australia, the Silver grass tree ( Kingia australis ) survives. The odd plant isn't a tree, it isn't a grass, isn't common, and is closely related to lilies. The genus Kingia has a single species and limited distribution in this far off corner of Australia. It was discovered by European explorers in 1801 but was well known to aboriginal people who lived there for millennia and called it bullanock.

Kingia is a remnant of the ancient plant life that populated Gondwanaland and then survived millions of years in isolation on the Australian continent. The plant is also strangely beautiful and haunting to encounter in the wild.

                         Silver Grass Trees (Kingia australis), Western Australia  (credit: SWP Media)

      Silver Grass Trees in Flower and Re-sprouting after Fire  (credit:  Encyclopedia of Life , Ori Sapir)

The silver grass trees grow very slowly, survive fires with their tough stems, and can live for several hundred years or more.


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