3/02/2011

Grevillea tree

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Grevillea tree

***** Location: Kenya
***** Season: Short rains
***** Category: Plant


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Explanation

The grevillea robusta is one of the most common trees in Nairobi and the Highlands of Kenya. It is not cultivated for its looks, but more for its uses, as it grows straight and tall and produces good timber, both for building and for firewood.

It is quite common for large branches of this tree to be cut down with pangas, leaving the rest of the tree to recover and continue to grow. Few Kenyans notice the flowers of this tree, related to the protea of South Africa, as these are often hidden among the foliage and high up from the ground, and coincide with those of the far more showy jacaranda and tipu trees.

Grevillea robusta

Photo and text © Isabelle Prondzynski


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Grevillea Robusta
Exotic, native to Eastern Australia

Names : Mgrivea (Swahili), M√Ľkima (Kikuyu)

A semi-deciduous, naturalised tree reaching 20m or more in height, very fast-growing, widely plantedat altitudes of 1,200 m above sea level. It does best in areas of deep soil and good rainfall, but tolerates poorer soils.

Bark : Dark grey; rough; furrowed vertically.
Leaves : Distrinctive; deeply divided, fern-like, up to 3 cm long, leathery olive-green above, silky silvery grey below, fallen leaves grey, stiff, slow to decompose.
Flowers : Numerous; in one-sided golden orange spikes up to 12 cm in length; showy.
Fruit : Dark capsules, about 1 cm long, with slender beaks, young capsule grey-green in colour; splits to release two winged seeds.
Uses : The timber is tough and durable, used for quality furniture, veneer / plywood, fuel, posts, fencing and wooden toys. Leaves serve as fodder.

~ Najma Dharani, Field Guide to common trees and shrubs of East Africa, Struik Publishers, Cape Town 2002.

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Grevillea flower
Grevillea flower
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


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Worldwide use



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Things found on the way



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HAIKU



grevillea boughs
stand bare in the mist --
grey sky

saw-dust scented air
on Landhies road --
fallen grevilleas

Muthurwa food vendors
filling sacks with saw dust --
whirring power saw

a bulldozer bites log
after log to load the lorries --
sliced grevillea

outdoor class --
an uprooted grevillea
on the school roof



~ Patrick Wafula



a dry carpet
of grevillea leaves-
Landhies Road


fallen grevillea--
a sculptor whittles a cooking spoon
from a stump

~ Andrew Otinga


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Grevillea robusta
Grevillea leaves
Photo © Isabelle Prondzynski


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a dove cooing
in a leafy grevillea --
still dawn


Patrick Wafula in Arusha, June 2011


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Related words

***** . Trees in Kenya


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