Flame Spider Flower - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Grevillea kennedyana
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 21 Aug 2018


Greyish, sprawling shrub to about 1.5 m high, with somewhat tangled, downy branches. Few plants possess more than six thick stems. The leaves are rigid and sharply pointed, 0.7-3.3 cm long, about 1-1.5 mm wide, clustered, the margins rolled inwards. Flowers in loose clusters of 8-20, each 2.5-3.5 cm long, silky red, borne on long slender stalks in small groups at the ends of the branchlets. The fruit is a small capsule opening in two valves.


Rare in the far north-west corner of NSW, from a few locations on stony mesa slopes. It appears to be confined to only one or two mesas and present there in very localised groups. Sites are also located in adjacent far south-western Qld. Known in total from six separate geographic locations, with the total number of individuals estimated at 13 000+ plants, most of which occur in Sturt NP. The four NSW sites are located in the Grey Range on the Olive Downs escarpment, McDonalds Peak, Mount Wood Hills and Onepah Station. The two Qld sites are located on Naryilco Station in the Bygrave Range.

Habitat and ecology

  • Grows in rocky sites on stony mesa slopes, steep jump-ups and dry rocky watercourses. Absent from the upper, less stony slopes and the gently undulating plains which fringe the ranges. Denser concentrations occur on lower slopes where more rocks and stones have collected and water retention is comparatively good.
  • Associated with low sparse arid shrublands dominated by Eremophila freelingii, Acacia tetragonophylla and Scaevola spinescens, with Grevillea kennedyana typically in the tallest stratum. Canopy species include Acacia aneura, A. cambagei and Atalaya hemiglauca, with occasional Casuarina pauper up to 7m high.
  • Flowering appears to be induced by cool season rainfall and has been observed throughout winter and spring. Preliminary observations suggest that substantial flowering episodes occur 2 to 4 months after a significant rainfall event. Flowering is irregular in dry seasons.
  • Plants occasionally arise from seed but mostly regenerate from lignotuber and sucker, either naturally or in response to fire. Is capable of recruitment via rhizomes and it is likely that many apparent individuals are clones. The species also has the ability to resprout from adventitious buds at the base of stems. Establishment of seedlings has not been observed in the wild.
  • Germination and growth may be reliant on exceptional rainfall events in the appropriate season or above-average rainfall over successive years.
  • The longevity of plants is not known. There is very little evidence of plant senescence. The ecology of Grevillea kennedyana involves episodes of drought and fire. The pollinators are unknown, but flower size, red colour and long styles suggest that it is likely to be bird-pollinated.
  • A wildfire partially burnt the Naryilco population in 1975 and when observed in 1992 these plants had resprouted. Fire is not required to trigger the release of seed but may be implicated in the breaking of seed dormancy.
  • Each location comprises several populations or relatively discrete clumps of plants. The abundance of individuals varies considerably within populations, from scattered shrubs spaced 100 to 200 metres apart, up to concentrations of 3 plants per square metre. A distinctive feature is the close grouping of plants, with groups consisting of 4 to 8 close-growing plants with intertwining braches.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Channel CountrySturt Stony Desert Known None
Simpson Strzelecki DunefieldsStrzelecki Desert Predicted None