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Flora of Australia Online

Grevillea speciosa (Knight) McGill., Telopea 1: 24 (1975)
Red Spider Flower

Lysanthe speciosa Knight, Cult. Prot. 118 (1809). T: Port Jackson [N.S.W.], s.d. , [W. ]Paterson ; holo: BM; ?iso: G n.v .

Grevillea speciosa (Knight) McGill. subsp. speciosa , sensu D.J.McGillivray & R.O.Makinson, Grevillea 329–332 (1993). 

Embothrium sericeum var. major Sm., Spec. Bot. New Holland 3: 27, t. 9, fig. 5 (1794), as β major ; Grevillea punicea R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 169 (1810). T: New South Wales, 1793, Mr [J. ] White ; lecto: LINN, fide D.J.McGillivray & R.O.Makinson, Grevillea 442 (1993); probable isolecto: G, PH n.v.

Grevillea dubia R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 169 (1810). T: Port Jackson towards the entrance of Lane Cove, [N.S.W.], R.Brown Iter Austral. 3332 ; lecto: BM, fide D.J.McGillivray & R.O.Makinson, Grevillea 442 (1993); isolecto: K, ?NSW.

Grevillea punicea var. crassifolia A.A.Hamilton, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 45: 261 (1920). T: Gosford, on road to Wiseman's Ferry, N.S.W., Jan. 1916, A.A.Hamilton ; lecto: NSW 94360 p.p. , fide D.J.McGillivray & R.O.Makinson, Grevillea 442 (1993); isolecto: K, NSW94360 p.p., NSW117348; remaining syntypes: K, NSW94354, NSW94356.

Illustrations: N.C.W.Beadle et al. , Fl. Sydney Reg. t. 10 (1972), as Grevillea punicea ; D.J.McGillivray & R.O.Makinson, Grevillea 329 (1993), as Grevillea speciosa subsp. speciosa ; P.M.Olde & N.R.Marriott, Grevillea Book 3: 177 (bottom centre & 144A), 178 (144B, C) (1995).

Regenerates from seed.

Erect shrub 0.4–3 m tall. Branchlets angular, subsericeous to villous. Leaves obovate to almost round or elliptic to narrowly so, 1–4 cm long, 4–12 (–19) mm wide; upper surface punctate; margins shortly refracted; lower surface exposed, subsericeous or pubescent. Unit conflorescence terminal on a short lateral branchlet or rarely axillary, shortly pedunculate, decurved, hemispherical-subsecund to loosely globose, many-flowered. Flowers acroscopic. Flower colour: perianth and style bright red or rarely pink, very rarely cream. Perianth subsericeous to tomentose outside, bearded inside. Pistil 25–35 mm long; style gently curved, with scattered minute erect simple hairs over apical 3–15 mm; pollen-presenter oblique. Follicle narrowly ellipsoidal to narrowly ovoid, 12–20 mm long, colliculose. 

Occurs in N.S.W. in the northern half of the Sydney Basin, from just S of Port Jackson N to Gosford, Kulnura and Bucketty; one early record from Port Stephens is unconfirmed. Grows in moister areas of heath and low sclerophyll woodland or forest, in sandy soils on sandstone. Flowers mainly July–Oct., sporadic in other months. Map 185.

N.S.W.: Mangrove Mtn, E.F.Constable NSW19368 (NSW); Pearl Beach, M.Craig CBG012604 (CANB); 2.5 km N of Wisemans Ferry on road to Ten Mile Hollow, L.A.S.Johnson NSW96980 (NSW); Park Hill Reserve, North Head, J.Pulley 56 (CANB); Flat Rock Ck gully, J.Seur 418 (NSW).

Similar and very closely related to G. oleoides , which has longer leaves 5–14 mm long, a subsessile to shortly pedunculate conflorescence with peduncle to 5 mm long (2–10 mm long in G. speciosa ), and the inflorescence usually held within the foliage. Specimens apparently intermediate between G. speciosa and G. oleoides are known from what are now the eastern and southern suburbs of Sydney. Grevillea dimorpha is also very similar, but has consistently axillary conflorescences held very close to the stems, often with fewer flowers and these abaxially oriented. Some variants of G. victoriae are also similar, but have pistils < 25 mm long, usually larger leaves, and the midvein on the lower surface of the leaf densely hairy (glabrous or nearly so in G. speciosa ). Occasional hybrid swarms with G. sericea subsp. sericea occur in areas of sympatric occurrence.

The variant named as var. crassifolia A.A.Hamilton occurs in the Gosford area and sporadically elsewhere; it has rotund leaves with the margins refracted about a thick, prominent intramarginal vein; such plants occur in mixed stands with plants with a less thick-leaved appearance, and there is little justification for formal recognition except as a phenotype. The 'Maroota form', occurring from north of Dural to Wisemans Ferry, has relatively short and narrow elliptic leaves, with pistils also at the lower end of the range of length; these features are suggestive of possible past gene-flow with the geographically disjunct G. oldei or a related taxon, and resemble a known hybrid swarm of G. speciosa × G. oldei from near Kulnura.

(R.O.Makinson)

 

Data derived from Flora of Australia Volumes 16 (1995), 17A (2000) and 17B (1999), products of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia