Home Search By Name Browse NT Flora NT Specimen Data Regional & Ecological Floras Threatened Species Introduced Species NT Species List Help page

Xanthorrhoea thorntonii Tate
Common Name: Xanthorrhoea, Desert Grass Tree, Yacka
Aboriginal Language Names: Pitjantjatjara: kata-kultu, kata-puru, ulpa, urara (Latz 1995)Warlpiri: yurlurnkuru (Latz 1995)Western Arrernte: lunkere (Latz 1995)
Description: The only grass tree in central Australia. A very distinctive species with numerous long linear entire leaves radiating from the apex of one or more stout trunks to about 3 m high. The white flowers are densely packed into long-stalked robust spikes.
Whole plant (or habit)
Image: D.E. Albrecht
Leaf or Leaves
Image: D.E. Albrecht
Image: D.E. Albrecht
Image: P.K. Latz


  • Legend:
  • Specimen Icon Specimens
  • Observation Icon Observations
  • Specimen Cultivar Icon Cultivated
Introduced Status: Native to NT
Bioregion: Central Ranges, Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert, MacDonnell Ranges

Habitat: Occurs on and between dunes, and on sandy plains in Triodia-dominated vegetation.

Ecological Attributes

Flowering: Jan, May, Jun, Jul, Sep, Oct
Fruiting: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Dec

Other Attributes

Conservation Status (TPWCA): Near Threatened
Restricted Range Taxon: N
NT Parks: Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve, Watarrka National Park
Flora Description Source: Unpublished notes prepared for FloraNT
Taxonomic Literature: Flora of Central Australia, 1981


Pitjantjatjara: Food: Fruit flesh, Gum, Others, Plant foods for animals; Material and Culture: Others, Shade or shelter, Toys; Weapons and Implements: Fish-poisons and traps. Warlpiri: Food: Plant foods for animals; Material and Culture: Shade or shelter; Weapons and Implements: Fish-poisons and traps. Western Arrernte: Material and Culture: Shade or shelter.
Ethnobotany Source: Latz, P.K. 1995


Seed Collection: Seeds ripen progressively and are released upon ripening. Place into cloth or paper bags. (Alice Springs Desert Park)
Seed Propagation General: Cover seeds with 4mm of seed raising media or sterilised sand. Prick-out approximately 3 weeks after sowing, with general potting media. Protect newly germinated and potted seedlings from high heat and wind. Gradually expose to harsher conditions as the plant grows. (Alice Springs Desert Park).

PDF Factsheet Print Friendly