Scientific name: Grevillea banksii
Common names: Red silky oak, dwarf silky oak, Banks’ grevillea, kahili flower
Nativity: Queensland, Australia
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: June 29, 2013
Notes: This beautiful plant was growing poolside in a garden I visited as part of the Garden Bloggers Fling in 2013. The Californians in the group had no trouble identifying it as grevillea for those of us pondering, because it is a common landscape shrub there in the land of cool temperatures but no frost. It is also widely cultivated in Australia, where it is native, and many cultivars and hybrids have been created, making it popular far and wide. As a result, grevillea has naturalized in Hawaii, and is a pesky invasive in Madagascar.
I noticed an interesting contradiction in the literature about Grevillea: They contain cyanide and shouldn’t be consumed, and they have sweet nectar which the aborigines of Australia would shake into a cup and drink! I wonder if they survived it? Some species must have less poison than others.