08 December 2008

Proteaceae - Few-flowered Grevillea - Grevillea oligantha

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Few-flowered Grevillea - Grevillea oligantha

A highly contrasting plant to most WA flora that are typically big, bright and beautiful, whereas this shrub seems to desire obscurity by being dull, small flowered and few in number. Yet it is not alone, being very similar to Grevillea pauciflora and differing mainly in flower structure by being without hairs (glabrous) on the outside and by having a much shorter style, only a little longer than the perianth (sepals and petals). Grevillea oligantha on the other hand is hairy on the outside of the flower (perianth), and the style is more than twice the perianth length.

Grevillea oligantha is a bushy shrub from 1/2-11/2 metres (2'-5') with olive green upright foliage. The pale to dark red flowers (perianth) are slender, less than 1 cm in length and usually in pairs. They are sited at the base of the (5 cm or 2") narrow oblanceolate leaves, where they are not immediately obvious and need to be sought in order to find them. Their main flowering period is late winter to early spring, but they usually have some flowers at other times too.

Although a widespread shrub, it is seldom numerous and usually occurs as scattered plants in low-lying areas, particularly on flood plains, preferring a sandy peat soil over clay or gravel.