Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Doryanthes palmeri

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan - October

Common name giant spear lily
Scientific name Doryanthes palmeri W. Hill ex Benth.
Family  Doryanthaceae

Genus: From Greek, doratos, spear; and anthos, flower.

Species: After Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer (1819 - 1898), pastoralist and Queensland politician.

Distribution Occurs in south-east Queensland and far north-east New South Wales.
Native habitat On exposed rocky outcrops on infertile soils or on bare rock. 

Clumping lily to 3 m x 3 m with massive red arching flower spikes.

Flowering/fruiting Flowers in spring and summer.

Location in Garden

You can have a closer look at this giant in Bed 3 in the Connections Garden and in the Lakeside beds.


In New South Wales it is listed as a Vulnerable species where it is threatened in the wild by weed invasion, frequent fires and illegal seed harvesting.

Roasted Doryanthes flower spikes were used as a food source for Indigenous Australians and the roots were mashed into a pulp and made into cakes.

If you have a large garden, this plant will add structure and colour - the foliage in particular being extremely architectural when planted singly. In cultivation it is an adaptable plant which prefers well drained soils.




Doryanthes palmeri Image by Tracey Armstrong

Doryanthes palmeri

Doryanthes palmeri image by Tracey Armstrong