There are 28 species of the native grass tree in eastern Australia. They grow about 1 metre every 100 years and have a lifespan of around 600 years. When they reach about 4 metres in height, they stop growing. In contrast to this, a stalk grows out the top of the tree at 2 to 3 cm per day and reaching over 3 metres in height.
In the past, the grass tree was called "blackboy" due to being similar in appearance to an Aboriginal boy holding a spear.