Banksia

31 Dec

Banksia, evergreen shrub from Australia, varieties vary in height between 3 and 15 or more ft. in height, large flowers throughout the year in shades of cream, yellow, orange, red and burgundy, very showy, drought tolerant and deer resistant, full sun.

Banksia is a genus of about 78 species in the Protea family (Proteaceae). All species occur in Australia. Banksias can be found in most environments; the tropics, sub-alpine areas, the coast and desert areas. The most diversity in the genus occurs in the south of Western Australia where over 80% of the species occur.

Banksia originates in Australia, where it is found occupying a variety of landscapes and conditions. Heavy producers of nectar, Banksias form a vital part of the food chain in the Australian bush, providing food for birds, bats, rats, possums, bees and a host of insects. Banksias grow as trees or woody shrubs, and there are both erect and prostrate species available to the home gardener. Leaves are usually serrated, and  the unique flower spike is formed by an elongated inflorescence consisting of a woody axis covered in tightly-packed pairs of flowers attached at right angles. A single flower spike generally contains hundreds or even thousands of flowers. Most Banksias are yellow, but orange, red and pink also occur.

Banksia is a hardy garden plant, requiring little summer water and growing in all types of soil. Banksia flowers are dramatic and long lasting, making Banksia popular in the cut flower trade.

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