About Grass Trees
When European settlers first colonised Australia, they learned the value of these marvellous plants from the Aboriginal people, who used the many parts of the plant as an essential part of their lifestyle. The Noongar People in Western Australia called the Grasstree Balga, and they had more than 100 uses for it.
The dry flower stalk was used to kindle fire, and the sharp edges of the seedpods made disposable knife blades for cutting game and digging for bush tucker.
The resin collected in flakes from the base made indigenous super glue when heated, which they used for many applications, repairing tools and attaching stone spearheads to wooden shafts. The grass tree flower spikes also provided a sweet drink when soaked in water.
The early settlers found that the resinous gum made brilliant varnishes and lacquers, and even into the 20th century a varnish made from it was used as an anti-corrosive coating for tinned food sent to Aussie soldiers during World War II.
In the Bush, they play an important role, attracting animals, insects (especially bees) and birds with their sweet flowers. Providing habitat for lizards, snakes and spiders, they are an essential part of the ecology of the Bush.
Advantages of Grasstrees in Landscaping
They are so well adapted that they can flourish on poor, sandy soils, resisting drought and fire. Most importantly, they LOOK fantastic, like guardians of the dreamtime, and the impact of seeing them installed in OUR habitat is dramatic. Nothing says 'Australia' like the Grasstree.
Maintenance is inexpensive and easy, once they are established. They love the sun and there is no need for fertilisers. Climate-wise they will survive almost any seasonal conditions, except perhaps Father Christmas' Arctic backyard.