Banksia media

Claire wrote and organized today’s entry:

This photograph of Banksia media, taken at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in Ballarat, Australia, is courtesy of Eric (sftrajan@Flickr) of San Francisco, California (shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Thank you Eric!

Banksia is a fascinating genus in Proteaceae that is (mostly) endemic to Australia. One species in the genus is more broadly distributed, ranging to New Guinea and the Aru Islands, while a recent fossil discovery (published in 2010) also places the genus in New Zealand in the distant past.

Banksia media of Western Australia is but one example of a genus known for spike inflorescences that can contain thousands of flowers (though not all species have this characteristic). The cylindrical spikes of Banksia media can be up to 15cm tall and nearly 10cm wide when flowering. When flowering in the wild from winter to spring, the spikes are an irresistible perch, with the flowers being a treat to pollinators. Both birds and bees flock there due to nectar production. The bright yellow color of the thousands of flowers gives the species the common name of golden stalk.

In the summer, the once-flowery spikes of Banksia media become woody cones filled with hard follicles. As the species is fire-sensitive (no lignotuber to regenerate vegetatively after fires), new generations of the plant rely on propagation from seeds residing in the soil. Gardeners in coastal areas of Australia enjoy this plant for its ability to tolerate a range of soil conditions, moisture regimes and salt spray.

Banksia media

4 responses to “Banksia media”

  1. phillip

    …Oooh…looks like a orange push up Popsicle…!

  2. Donald DeLano

    Being fortunate enought to have two growing in a raised planter area in Southern California for a few years – an occasional heavy cold winter does stress them greatly – I was finally rewarded this past year to 15 blossoms. What a spectacle it caused when people strolled past our house when they were in full bloom. Usually there were 2-3 hummingbirds perched daily in the best spots.

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    thank you eric new plant to these eyes i am used to the bottle brush
    tree here in florida but this is so different with the lovely cones
    i clicked on the link to the other members of the tribe-
    banksia nutans or nodding banksia tis pendulous perhaps for another time
    so many others do take a walk over to the website bon jour

  4. james peter Lalor

    Lovely hard plant used in Australia. I find them so beautiful and unique in the Australian bush.

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