Grevillea robusta: Silver oak

Family: Myrtaceae
Common name: Silver oak, Silk oak, Southern silky oak, Australian silver oak

Silver oak is a very strong, sturdy tree that can grow from 10 to 40 meters tall, with a main trunk that can reach up to 1 meter in diameter. It is a reasonably straight tree with the main trunk extending from the ground almost till the top of the tree. The crown does not spread much, making it a favorite in large gardens since they do not block the sunlight for plants underneath them.

Silver oak trees provide good support for pepper vines since their trunk is not smooth, providing a good grip for the climbing vines. These trees are native to Australia, but are now grown all over the world. In India, silver oak is a popular roadside tree, since it’s sturdy and good-looking. The name silver oak comes from the leaves, which have silver sheen on the lower surface.

Silver oak leaves are about 30 cms long with secondary leaflets, subdivided into many lobes. This peculiar structure of the leaves allow sunlight to pierce between them, making the tree look beautiful and glowing in the sun. The flowers are deep yellowish-orange, and beautifully shaped with bristles on one side, like a toothbrush.

The tree sheds most of its leaves before flowering, making the tree look completely yellow when in bloom. Silver oak trees prefer good direct sunlight, for growing and blooming. Seed pods are dark brown, about 2 cms long and contains winged seeds.

The timber of Silver oak tree is quite strong and used for window joinery, cabinets, wooden floor strips, crates, packing material etc. In India, it is used extensively to make plywood, which is used in all home interiors like kitchen cabinets and wardrobes. However, they are not used for making furniture since they are not long-lasting.

Propagation is from seeds.

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