The plant is extremely variable depending on environmental conditions. Most of the silver banksias in the Upper Barwon Region tend to be shrubs ranging from 1m tall (growing on poor heathy soils) to 5-6m in moist peaty sands. The tree form of the species is now very rare due to the severe depletion of its habitat on the basalt plains. Some of these remnants can get close to15m tall with 30-40cm diameter trunks. The leaves are variable as well- ranging from 4cm long to 12cm long. The bark is rough up to the small branches. The golden yellow flowers usually open in the autumn about the same time that seeds from the previous years' flowers are mature. The tree form can set very little seed due to lack of genetic diversity (inbreeding can cause infertile flowers and great distances between trees lessens the chance of cross pollination). The shrub form, which grows in healthy populations, doesn't set a lot of seed either but they do have a suckering habit which helps the species survive the poor soils and frequent fires of the heath. The production of seed does occur especially during years of good rain, but can be frustratingly hard to find!
The common name of silver banksia comes from the underside of the leaves which are white- some might say silver! However, the underside of the leaves certainly contrast with the top side of the leaves, which are a dull green.
Flowering start in August and ends in May.
The main flower colour is yellow.
All banksias produce copious amounts of nectar. Sweet drinks are made from steeping the flowers in water.
Created: 06 Nov 2014 - Member - Stephen L (Clare SA)
Updated: 21 Nov 2014 - Member - John and Val
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