Heath Banksia

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″ offset=”vc_col-lg-1/5 vc_col-md-1/5 vc_col-xs-1/5″][us_image image=”81787″ size=”thumbnail” align=”left” style=”circle” has_ratio=”1″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/12″ offset=”vc_col-lg-4/5 vc_col-md-4/5 vc_col-xs-4/5″][vc_column_text]By Lachlan Turner[/vc_column_text][us_post_date][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

As you might expect during winter months, there are not as many wildflowers in bloom in our bushland reserves. However, there is a particular Heath Banksia that displays its brilliant colour alongside some of the region’s walking tracks during this time of the year.

The Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia) can grow to around 5m tall. Its dramatic, bright orange, almost red coloured, flower spikes can grow up to 200mm in length and up to 60mm wide when mature.

They are quite visible in amongst the bright green/grey foliage of this bushy shrub.

In its early stages the flower is a much paler yellowish colour. Like other Banksias the spent flowers will develop into wood-like cones in which is contained the fruit and seeds.

This plant grows best in fairly open woodland and heath where there are sandy soils on the ridge lines and plateaux. It is prominent around Sydney favouring adjacent Hawkesbury sandstone regions.

The flowers produce an abundance of nectar that is attractive to bees and numerous honeyeaters. This sweet tasting liquid was used by local aboriginal people to mix with water as a tasty drink.

Touching the mature flowers will deposit some of this quite sticky nectar on your hands. Like its relative the Hairpin Banksia talked about in May, this plant is popular in household gardens as it adjusts well to the more open home garden environment.

Propagation can easily be achieved from seed rather than by cuttings. If a more compact bushy appearance is desired the plant may be tip pruned to remove any straggly growth.

Looking closely into the flowers of this Banksia, the observer can only be amazed at the structure of its intricate form and beauty.

The Community Environment Centre at Annangrove is holding an Open Day on Saturday August 13 from 12.00 midday to 4.00pm. The local Hills Community is invited to visit the Centre and engage with a range of activities. Admission is free.

Following August 13, on each Saturday following, the Community Environment Centre will be open from 9.00am, A variety of organic gardening, sustainability and environmental workshops are scheduled to commence from August 20.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][us_image image=”82870″ size=”full” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row]