Banksia coccineaCommon Name: Scarlet Banksia
Family: PROTEACEAE (80 Genera)
Origin of Scientific Name:
Banksia - After Sir Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820), famous English botanist and naturalist with a prolific list of botanical discoveries credited to him.
coccinea – Latin coccineus = scarlet.
This is a non-lignotuberous shrub, which means it has no underground reserves from which to regenerate after fire. It is, therefore, not fire tolerant and totally reliant on regeneration by seed. It usually grows to about 4 metres, but can reach 8 metres. It has wide, toothed, light to mid-green leaves and very conspicuous terminal inflorescences, generally 100 mm x 100 mm which vary from a reddish orange to bright scarlet. These flowers are highly prized in the cut flower industry because of the long, fairly straight, single stems on which they grow.
DistributionFound in and around Albany and the Stirling Ranges on the south coast of Western Australia, with a few populations between Albany and Esperance. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Environment and Conservation's FloraBase online herbarium.
Flowers from May to January.
The seed of Banksia coccinea germinates fairly readily, usually within 3 to 6 weeks and without any pre-treatment. Immersing in hot (not boiling) water for 20 minutes before sowing may improve germination rate. Make sure seed wing is pointing up, cover lightly with soil and keep warm and moist, but not wet. It is possible to propagate from cuttings, but the strike rate is fairly low.
Banksia coccinea requires sandy, very well-drained soil in full sun. It will not do well in any area that experiences humid, wet summers as it readily succumbs to root rot fungus.
All banksias respond well to light pruning, but over-enthusiasm with the secateurs can kill them, and remember that most Australian native plants do not appreciate phosphorous, but to banksias it is particularly toxic. They shouldn't need more than a light application of slow-release fertiliser specifically designed for Australian natives and with a P ratio of < 2 (as in N:P:K). If the leaves appear to be yellowing, try an application of iron chelates.
View in Kings Park
In the Stirling Range display bed (second bed down from Forrest Drive, west of Water Garden); in the Banksia Garden; in the beds between the Eucalyptus Car Park and the Long Vista; and in the Botanic Garden Entry beds. To help locate these sites, you may wish to download the Western Australian Botanic Garden Guide brochure via our brochures page.
This is a great plant for attracting nectar-feeding birds into your garden, and possibly even some possums.