Giant Spear Lily ( Gymea Lily )

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Doryanthes palmeri

“[The] Giant Spear Lily is a large, succulent herb which grows as a rosette. It’s hairless leaves are sword–shaped, and up to 3 m long and 20 cm wide” – Atlas of Living Australia

Gymea Lilies are spectacular, especially when they are in flower. The plant is on a colossal scale, sword shaped leaved up to 2m long radiate from a point in the ground. When flowering they grow a thick spear up to 4m long from the center of the leaves with large vivid red flowers perched at the top.

This one had me sratching my head a bit, Gymea lillies are native to the Sydney area and are a common plant in residential gardens. But this individual growing just outside the office has a very different arangement of flowers on the spear from other Gymea Lillies in the area. Instead of one neat cluster at the very top of the spear, the flowers were sprouting form the sides starting about 2/3 of the way up all the way to the top.

After a bit of research it looks like this one is a Doryanthes palmeri, a native of Queensland and far north NSW, not the local variety which is Doryanthes excelsa. I’ll do a follow up post on the local Gymea Lily.

Giant Spear Lily
Giant Spear Lily near my office. It's about 4m high, see my camera case at the base for scale
Flowers on Giant Spear Lily
Flowers growing from the spear on the Giant Spear Lily
Giant Spear Lily Flowers
Giant Spear Lily Flowers Detail


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