English/ Common name- Southern Silky Oaktree

Local name- ಸಿಲ್ವರ್ ಮರ

Botanical name- Grevillea robusta

Appearance- It is a fast-growing evergreen tree with a single main trunk, growing to 5–40 m (20–100 ft) tall. Silky oak, Grevillea robusta, is a medium to fairly large tree with light gray, rouge, bark with mainly closely spaced furrows. The trunk tends to be straight and tall. Flowers form on the plant in season (in Hawaii, April, and May) and extend through the summer. The leaves are composed with paired leaflets arranged along the central stem. Unlike most compound leaves, these leaflets are deeply lobed with sharp points on the ends. This makes it look almost fernlike.

Origin- Silky oak (Grevillea robusta) or southern silky oak is a native Australian tree that grows naturally in northern Australia. It is now relatively rare in its natural habitat but has been widely planted, including on Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.

Conditions required for growth- Succeeds in warm temperate to tropical regions. In tropical areas, it can grow at elevations from 130 - 2,300 meters, whilst in the temperate zone, it is found from sea level to 1,000 meters. The mean maximum temperature of the hottest month is 25 - 31°c, the mean minimum temperature of the coldest month is 2 - 12°c, and the mean annual temperature is 14 - 23°c. An easy and fast-growing tree requires a well-drained slightly acid soil and a sunny position. The Silk Oak is robust and doesn’t need too much maintenance. Hence, it is often used as a street tree.

Uses- Interestingly, the Silky Oak flowers are one of the richest sources of nectar. Other industrial uses of Silk Oak include the extraction of yellow and green dyes from the leaves. Traditional uses for silky oak include decorative veneer, architectural woodwork, parquet and plank flooring, cabinetry, furniture, and interior joinery. In Australia, it is also used for building construction work and shutters, as well as cask staves. The tree also yields small amounts of gum resin used for industrial applications.

Hazards- The Silk Oak has occasionally caused contact dermatitis following contact with foliage or sawdust. This is mainly due to the tridecyl resorcinol related to an allergen called Toxicodendron.


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