Sharon Field
Doryanthes excelsa (Gymea Lily)

Doryanthes excelsa (Gymea Lily)

Watercolour and graphite on paper 2012

This was a fantastic flower to paint. In this painting the Lily is presented in context, being indigenous to the Sydney Basin and 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. Arising from a large, bright green, thick rosette of sword-like leaves up to 1.5m long, erect flowering stem 3 to 7 m tall. Gymea Lily’s flower, which is borne in early spring, is colossal, frequently being 40-70 cm wide, while individual flowers, from the tightly clustered head, are each 6cm long, and protected by bracts of a deeper red colour.

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