Xanthorrhoea johnsonii is endemic to Western Australia and grows naturally in sand, loam or gravelly soils (well-drained soils) in open forest and heath. It is a slow-growing perennial shrub with thick blackened trunks topped by a dense grassy clump of leaves. It takes decades to reach full maturity and can live up to 600 years.These plants are often found growing on slopes or sides of hills. This indicates they like good drainage and will put up with poor rocky soil conditions. Xanthorrhoea johnsonii is a spectacular caudiciform plant whose spent leaf bases create a trunk, similar to that of a cycad. They are typically single trunked specimens that grow up to 4m (13 feet) tall, but rare multi-trunk specimens may occur. Minor changes in their trunk direction are usually caused by new growth after the tree flowers while major bends have been caused by accidents such as another tree falling on to the apex or pushing it over. Usually the tree will attempt to continue growing vertically. Every tree is unique and has years of history reflected in its shape. Xanthorrhoea johnsonii have a trunk that is typically black as a result of bush fires. The trunk is composed of a mass of old leaf bases held together by natural resin which can take 10 years before it begins to form. The centre of the trunk is filled with a fibrous material. During bushfires, the intense heat melts the natural resin in the trunk and this oozes out and solidifies.