Banksia > Banksia ashbyi | Banksia praemorsa | Banksia prionotes |Banksia quercifoliaBanksia serratta | Banksia spinulosa x ericifolia

The Banksia is one of Australia’s iconic flowering plants. Popularised as the ‘bad Banksia Man’ in May Gibbs’ stories of ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’, they are easily recognisable with their characteristic flower spikes and the fruiting cones.

Oak-leaved Banksia (Banksia quercifolia), Portland Botanic Gardens, SA
Oak-leaved Banksia (Banksia quercifolia), Portland Botanic Gardens, SA

The variety and popularity of the banksia have seen species grown outside their normal range in other parts of Australia, especially in the many botanic gardens and reserves. The following Oak-leaved Banksia (Banksia quercifolia) occurs naturally in the south coast of Western Australia.

Cut-leaf Banksia (Banksia praemorsa), Alice Springs, NT
Cut-leaf Banksia (Banksia praemorsa), Alice Springs, NT

Uniquely Australian, the Banksia are magnificent relics from the once super-continent of Gondwana. Named after the botanist Joseph Banks, the genus Banksia is a member of the family Proteaceae family and was first collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander at Sydney in 1770. There were several species of Banksia kept in England in heated glasshouses due to their cold sensitivity.1

Banksia serrata (Saw Tooth Banksia / Old Man Banksia), Stony Range Regional Botanic Garden, Dee Why, NSW
Banksia serrata (Saw Tooth Banksia / Old Man Banksia)

Banksias are found growing in a variety of habitats, depending on the species, from the sclerophyll forest, (occasionally) rainforest, shrubland and arid zones. As well as still found growing in their natural habitats, they have also been established in gardens and parks around the country. The plant can range from a prostrate woody shrub to trees growing up to 30 metres high.

Acorn Banksia (Banksia prionotes), Naracoorte, SA
Acorn Banksia (Banksia prionotes), Naracoorte, SA

A great plant that also attract a variety of wildlife, especially in the bush where they form an important part of the food chain. The banksia flowers are an important part of nature’s food chain, as they are heavy producers of nectar, that are important for a variety of animals, insects and invertebrates. With the modern techniques of cultivation, they have also become an important part of the nursery and cut flower industry.

cv Giant Candles (Banksia spinulosa x ericifolia)
cv Giant Candles (Banksia spinulosa x ericifolia)

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Order: Proteales
  • Family: Proteaceae
  • Subfamily: Grevilleoideae
  • Tribe: Banksieae
  • Genus: Banksia
  • Species: About 170 species

Footnote & References

  1. Banksia, Seed Notes for Western Australia – No. 8, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Government of Western Australia,
  2. Banksia, (last visited Dec. 8, 2021)

FloraFlora Index Acacia Annual Yellowtop Apple Bush (Pterocaulon sphacelatum) Australian Bluebell Banksia Batswing Coral Tree Billy Buttons Birdsville Indigo Blue Pincushion Bush Banana Cape Honeysuckle Cassia fistula (Golden Shower) Cattle Bush Common Heath Desert Oaks Drumsticks Eremophila Eucalyptus False Shaggy Mane Ficus Flannel Cudweed (Actinobole uliginosum) Georges Indigo Goatshead Burr (Sclerolaena bicornis) Golden Everlasting Goodenia Grass and Grasses Grass Tree Green Bird Flower Grevillea Hakea MacDonnell Ranges Cycad Maireana scleroptera Mexican Poppy Minnie Daisy Mistletoe Family Mountain Devil Nardoo Native Apricot Orange Spade Flower Parakeelyas (Calandrinia) Pink Everlasting Pink Rock Wort Poached Egg Daisy Portulaca Ptilotus Quandong Resurrection Fern Rosy Dock Ruby Saltbush Solanum Spike Centaury Spinifex Storkbill (Erodum cygnorum) Striped Mint Bush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tall Saltbush Tar Vine Tribulus eichlerianus Upside-down Plant Urodon dasyphylla Variable Daisy Waratah White Paper Daisy Wild Passionfruit Woolly-Headed Burr Daisy