Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Doryanthes excelsa


Gymea Lily or Giant Lily


This giant plant has many sword-shaped leaves up to 2.5 m long and 10 cm wide. The flower spike grows to 5 m high and bears a striking head of red flowers.

Where it is found

The Gymea Lily grows in open forest and woodland sandy soils containing some clay. It occurs only in New South Wales along the coast from Karuah near Newcastle to Mount Keira near Wollongong, with three isolated populations near Glenreagh and north-west of Corindi. In Sydney it is often planted in parks and along road sides.


  • The roots can be harvested, roasted and made into a cake.
  • The young flower spikes (when approximately 0.5 m high) can be roasted and eaten.
  • The leaves contain fibres, which have been used for brush making and matting (Maiden 1889).

Further information

Click here for further information on Doryanthes excelsa.

Doryanthes excelsa
The Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa) is a source of food and fibre. At one time there was interest in using the leaf fibres commercially.

Doryanthes excelsa roots
Stout roots of the Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa) ar roasted and eaten.

Doryanthes excelsa: head of flowers, young flower spike, habit.