The Banksia is uniquely Australian¹, being discovered and named by Sir Joseph Banks, a botanist sailing with Captain James Cook who claimed Australia in the name of the Queen of England in 1770.
It is a flowering tree with a very unusual ‘gravelly’ bark and has flowers that go through 4 distinct stages over a year’s growth. Each flower can last for more than a year through these stages. they have a wide range of colours and sizes but all effectively grow via a ‘spike’ phase, a pre-flower phase, the flowering phase when insects can collect pollen in abundance and cross-pollinate and a post-flower stage which can stay on the tree for many years. It is in this last stage that a bushfire is necessary to allow the plant to propagate.
- Although it is a relative of the Proteas.
(Click on pic to enlarge)
In the above photo the seed pods are opened and the seed either eaten or has fallen to the ground, but for it to germinate it needs the heat of a bushfire, which are definitely not uncommon in most of Australia.