Thursday, November 12, 2015

Meet The "Silkoak" - Grevillea robusta

The Silkoak - Grevillea robusta is a fast growing specimen tree that reaches heights of 75 feet or more with a 25 foot spread.  Growing in pyramidal to oval shape when young, which eventually develops into a few heavy horizontal limbs with one central thick trunk.  Contrary to it's name the Silkoak is not a member of the Oak (Quercus) family, it is a member of the Protea (Proteaceae) family.  The recommended hardiness zones for the Silkoak are 9B through 11, it is not native to North America.  

Image Citation: T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,

The leaves are light and fern-like arranged alternately.  They are a grey to green in color with an almost silver shade underneath.  In most climates of the hardiness zone the tree is and evergreen, retaining leaves year round.  Generally the tree loses a large amount of leaves in the Spring shortly before the new growth emerges.  The flowers are a very showy bright Yellow-Orange and appear in the Spring - Fall depending on the region/climate.  For example in Hawaii the flowers can appear from March through October but are recorded as most showy during the Month of June. The fruit is black in color, leathery in texture and does not tend to attract wildlife.  The fruit is sometimes considered a nuisance as it falls and litters the ground.  

Image Citation: Dennis Haugen,

It has been established as a forest tree in some countries and shows promise as a fast-growing timber tree. The Silkoak produces an attractively figured, easily worked wood, which was once a leading face veneer in world trade.  When used as a veneer it is usually marketed as "lacewood".  The wood contains an allergen that causes dermatitis for many people.

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