One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An Australian tree or erect shrub with long, stiff grasslike leaves. Flowering in some species is stimulated by fire.
Genus Xanthorrhoea, family Xanthorrhoeaceae: several species, including a tree (X. preissii) with a thick dark trunk and a palmlike crown of leaves, and a shrub (X. australis) with a short buried trunk and leaves on the surface of the groundAlso called grass tree
- ‘But then the impression is spiked by a ‘blackboy’ at the roadside, a stout trunk sprouting grass, and by the ragged-barked trees that just don't behave as they do at home.’
- ‘Well just here you've got the grass tree, or as some people used to call them, blackboys.’
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