Doryanthes excelsa: is known as the Gymea Lily or Giant Lily and is perhaps the most noticeable plant in sandstone country around Sydney.
Doryanthes excelsa is a giant rosette plant. It has numerous basal leaves that may be up to 2.5 metres long and ten centimetres wide. The inflorescence is many flowered and up to 70 cm in diameter.
The flowers have reddish bracts and are pinkish-red. The inflorescence surmounts a flowering stalk that may be up to five metres tall. Flowering occurs in spring. Flowers, tall stalk and foliage are all features of this eye-catching plant.
The Gymea Lily is mainly confined to the Sydney region. A few years ago we stumbled across a small population on the North Coast of NSW.
Propagate from seed. Expect to wait for a period of 5 to 10 years for plants to flower. The flowers are frost tender. In Canberra’s Royal Botanic Gardens scaffolding covered with hessian protects developing flowers and tall stalks.
The image shows an inflorescence and was taken at the ABC Gardening Australia Live display in Sydney (Sept. 2001). Normally you would need a helicopter to take a similar photo of a flowering plant. The anthers are rather large (27-38 mm long) and are an unusual deep green colour.
Doryanthes excelsa is becoming a popular landscaping plant.