Eric La Fountaine (UBC Botanical Garden staff member) visited Australia last year, and snapped this photograph of bird’s nest banksia (also known as woollybear banksia (–or not, see comments–). Banksia baxteri grows natively in tall shrublands with sandy soils along the south coast of Western Australia. This region is one of the world’s “biodiversity hotspots“.
We’ve successfully (if temporarily) grown species of Banksia at UBC, and to our knowledge, the flowers we saw on Banksia marginata in 2002 and 2003 were the first occasions that a Banksia has flowered in Canada. Sadly for us, the plants were tender to the harsh winter of early 2004 and have since died. That hasn’t stopped Brent Hine (curator of the Alpine Garden in 2005) from acquiring other banksias which he believes will be hardier–all in the spirit of science and horticultural experimentation.