Ageing a grasstree.

It is commonly believed that the Xanthorrhoea grow at a rate of about  2½ cm per century. Xanthorrhoea do grow very slowly, but this is a gross underestimate: after an initial establishment phase the average rate of growth varies for each species but can be as high as about 2½ cm per year. Thus a five-metre tall member of one of the fastest growing Xanthorrhoea would be about 200 years old. A slow one may have a lifespan of 600 years.

A stand of Grass Trees approximately 200-300 years old.
A stand of Grass Trees approximately 200-300 years old.

The best known common name for the Xanthorrhoea is blackboy. This name refers to the purported similarity in appearance of the trunked species to an Aboriginal boy holding an upright spear. Most people now consider this name to be offensive, or at least belonging to the past, preferring instead grasstree, or here in the South West the Noongar name balga for X. Preissei.

About Margaret River Discovery Tours
Sean Blocksidge is the owner operator of the Margaret River Discovery Company, an avid photographer, blogger and South West WA ambassador. In 2010 he won Western Australian Guide of the Year and his tours have been rated the #1 thing to do in Australia on the Tripadvisor website for the past two years.