Xanthorrhoeaceae Dumort., nom. cons.

pronounced: zan-thor-roh-ee-AY-see-eye

the grass tree family

flowers in a dense spikeThe name of Xanthorrhoea, the type genus, is derived from two Greek words, ξανθος (xanthos), yellow, and 'ρεω (rheo), to flow, referring to the yellow gum that can be extracted from the plant. Members of the family are very diverse, and are divided into 3 subfamilies:

Xanthorrhoeaceae: containing only one genus, Xanthorrhoea, the Australian grass trees. These are incredibly slow growing, typically develop thick woody stems, with flowers arranged in a dense spike.

Asphodeloideae: often leaf succulents like the aloes and haworthias; also some ornamental perennials such as the red hot pokers.

Hemerocallidoideae: varied in habit, the daylilies probably being the best known members.


Aloe vera - Aloe Vera

Aloe X spinosissima - Spider Aloe

Xanthorrhoea johnsonii - Grass Tree


Photograph © Donald Simpson 2014

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