Verticordia grandis is a large woody shrub that occurs in Southwest Australia. The name grandis, Latin for large, is a reference to its large flowers, leaves, and height. It is well known for its large flowers, which are collected and cultivated, and given the informal name of scarlet featherflower. It was the first species of the family Myrtaceae to have been genetically modified.
Verticordia grandis is a species of Verticordia, a genus of the family Myrtaceae, which are noted for their exquisite flowers. It has been described as the most well known and desirable species of the genus.
The large size and bright red flowers of this plant distinguish from it from its near relations. These shrubs are erect and may attain a height between 0.7 and 4.0 metres and one, or several, main stems that branch out 0.3 metres to 3.0 metres across. Some specimens may be tall and erect, but is more commonly bushy regrowth from a lignotuber. This is the result of exposure to bushfires and other disturbances, the new stems emerging as reddish. The foliage becomes bluish or grey when matured.
The plumose flowers appear in compact groups, that spike out from the upper branch, beginning as white and turning to a deep red colour. The style extends out from the centre of the flower up to 25mm, slightly curving at the end. The petals are fused to form a tube, the sepals are feathery in appearance. Flowering may occur throughout the year, the main period beginning in August and ending in January. The flowers open successively and are up to 25 mm in diameter, these are unscented.
The leaves are 18 to 25 mm long, rounded in outline, paler at the margin, and partly clasping the stem; the floral leaves are similar to those on the lower branches. These are aromatic when crushed, a possible substitute for a floral scent. An oil is contained in prominent glands on the leaf surface. They may become a shade of purple when a plant is stressed.
The open branched habit of these shrubs, especially those taller and environmentally secure specimens, give a straggly appearance with fewer flowers. Regrowth from a lignotuber, or in cultivated environments, give the shrub a more compact habit that flowers profusely. Whether they are undisturbed, or exposed to bushfire etc., Verticordia grandis often attain ages around 100 years old.