The Gymea lily Doryanthes excelsa is a truly iconic plant of the Australian bush. The botanic name, ‘Doryanthes’, derives from two Greek words – ‘dory’, meaning spear, and ‘anthos’, meaning flower and this refers to the beacon like flower heads that stand out in the bush. They have big spectacular flower heads, and also clumps of luxurious green leaves that make a fabulous feature in the landscape. This plant is also known as flame lily, giant lily, giant spear lily, but most commonly it’s known as the Gymea lily.
It’s an incredibly tough native plant. It grows from an evergreen bulb which has contractile roots which pull the plant right down into the soil, where it can resist drought and bush fire – which triggers it to flower.
This gymea lily is growing up to about four metres on the side of the terrace that used to separate the two rows of accommodation lost at Binna Burra during the 2019 bushfires.