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 Kingia australis - grass girl 
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Bangor/North Wales
Post Kingia australis - grass girl
Does anyone grow this plant? Have you seen anywhere in UK or Europe plants for sale (not seeds)?
I have tried to attach photo of the plant (hope it works). It resembles the grass tree, although they are not related.
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Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:43 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:03 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: Inland Cornwall UK
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
It hasn't been listed in The RHS Plantfinder from 2001; I don't have earlier copies than that, but usually for things that had stopped being listed the early editions say 'not listed since..' so I don't think it has been listed in the 30 years The Plantfinder has been produced.

Hunting around for information, seed is occasionally available. It isn't listed in The RHS 4 volume 'dictionary', which suggests it wasn't in cultivation in the UK in the Edwardian period - many things are listed that were lost to cultivation when heated glass and gardening staff became more expensive after the first war.

Australian web sites list seed and warn that it isn't happy in pots for more than 5 years, which is when it would just be beginning to form a trunk. They list it as hardy to -4C, but that is Australian -4C [dry, not for many nights in a row and warming up the following day].

It looks an interesting thing to try, but would probably have to be from seed and need planting out into a bed under glass to get it to any size. It would then look magnificent in a few decades time.

It belongs to the Dasypogonaceae [which I hadn't heard of] and is the 'sister' family to the palms [Arecaceae].

It isn't a plant I knew - thank you for raising it [as a conversation point if not as a seedling!].

Chad.


Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:40 am
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Bangor/North Wales
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Thank you Chad. I also thought it is unlikely to find a plant for sale in UK. I was hoping someone could have seen it somewhere else in Europe - Spain? Netherlands?
I am so so bad at growing plants from seeds but will give it a try. I wonder if it will need smoke treatment.


Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:26 pm
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
Posts: 1557
Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Must be 20 years ago now when I used to help out at Ausfern nursery - one year they imported a single specimen that was too big to fit into the glasshouse. Must have had 4m of trunk and produced those amazing flowers whilst at the nursery. It was painful watching it slowly decline before it got sent out to a botanic garden somewhere - may have been Oxford - where it died a short time later. But I feel lucky to have seen such a big one close up and personal.

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:48 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Bangor/North Wales
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Paul, why do you think it declined and died? Do you think it was field dug?


Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:13 pm
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:55 pm
Posts: 1557
Location: North Thames delta UK
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Wild dug (claimed to be rescued from the bulldozer in land clearance). Same as all the grass trees that were imported back then. I would be surprised if many of those early X. preissii are still alive as the immediate survival rate was only something like 5%. Later when they changed the species to X. johnsonii and latterly X. glauca they seem much more tolerant of root disturbance.

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Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:29 am
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm
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Location: Bangor/North Wales
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Such a shame. You were really lucky to see one close up.
I bought 10 seeds from ebay, although I am not holding my breath.


Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:36 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:08 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Perth Australia
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
The standard story here (in Perth) is that Kingia can't be transplanted at all. I can't vouch for this personally, but if you have a look at the nurseries who do Xanthorrea transplants (which are not always successful, despite claims to the contrary by these businesses - and the cost), you never see Kingia there. I drove past one today actually that has enormous triple-headed Xanthorrea, tall boabs and even mature Christmas trees (Nuytsia floribunda). I haven't been in to have a proper sticky-beak, but when I get there there'll be no Kingia.


Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:10 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:43 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Bangor/North Wales
Post Re: Kingia australis - grass girl
Thank you Michael. I bought seeds from Australia and will give it a try. I was advised by the seller to give the seeds cold treatment in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I am not holding my breath, but won't hurt to try.


Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:21 pm
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