Herb: Grasstree

Latin name: Xanthorrhoea australis

Synonyms: Xanthorrhoea media

Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae

Medicinal use of Grasstree:

The resin has medicinal uses. No details are given.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Poor sandy or heathy soils up to the montane zone.

Edible parts of Grasstree:

The pith of the stem is eaten raw or roasted, it has an agreeable nutty taste that is slightly balsamic. It contains about 41% carbohydrate, 3.5% protein and traces of vitamin C. It is possible to extract sugar from the stem. Leaf bases - chewed. They are hard to detach from the plant. They sometimes taste sweet and juicy though more often they are tough and astringent. The flowers produce an abundance of nectar and this can be collected from the flowers, either by sucking the flowers or by cooking them up to produce a syrup. The root might be edible.

Other uses of the herb:

A resin collects around the bases of old leaves and can be collected by beating the stems. It can be used as a varnish for wood or metal and as an incense. It can also be used as a size, a sealing wax, mahogany stain for wood and medicinally. It makes a good glue. The gum is soft and pliable when heated over a flame but it cools to a rock-hard consistency. The flower stems are good firesticks.

Propagation of Grasstree:

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in about 5 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer, giving them the protection of a frame or cloche until they are growing away happily. Protect the outdoor plants for at least their first winter. Division of offsets in late spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Poor sandy or heathy soils up to the montane zone.

Known hazards of Xanthorrhoea australis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.