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These remarkable plants have a lifespan of about 600 years, and are very slow-growing. The trunk takes a decade to form initially, as it is composed of a mass of old leaf bases held together by a natural resin. It is then a further 20 years or more before the mass of thin, linear leaves rises above it. From then on, it grows only 1 or 2 cm in height per year. The plant eventually grows to a height of over 4 m, and often has branches. However, the flowering stalk grows at a rate of 2–3 cm per day, reaching to a height of 3 m or so. Mature plants will flower every 2 or 3 years.
The Grass Tree attracts a wide range of lizards and insects that shelter in the plant’s foliage. The flowering spear of the plant attracts honey-eating birds, bees, ants, and butterflies.