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Common name: Menzies' Banksia or Firewood banksia

Family: PROTEACEAE

Menzies' Banksia or Firewood banksia. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

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.

menziesii –  in honour of Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), surgeon-naturalist on board the HMS Discovery, on the Vancouver Expedition that discovered and named King George Sound, near Albany, in 1791. Specimens of menziesii were not collected on this trip, but in 1827 by Charles Fraser during Captain James Stirling's exploration of the Swan River. Archibald Menzies never got to see the plant that was named in honour of him.

Description

Banksia menziesii is found solely in Western Australia, from the Murchison River in the north, to Pinjarra in the south. It is mainly confined to the deep sands of the coastal plains due to the unsuitable, heavy soils of the Darling Scarp; however, there are a few isolated populations approximately 200 km east of Perth.

Menzies' Banksia varies greatly in size from shrubs of around 2 m to trees growing commonly to 7 m in Banksia woodland.

This attractive small tree has grey green serrated foliage and large conspicuous terminal flowers from February to October. These iconic flowers grow up to 8 cm across and 12 cm high with a range colour forms that are usually two toned. The most common combination is the deep red and pink form but others include cream, gold, burgundy, bronze and chocolate.

Horticultural tips

  • Easily propagated by seed, which responds well to smoke treatment and germinates in four to six weeks after sowing.
  • Easy to grow in Mediterranean-type climates similar to its distribution sites.
  • Requires free-draining, preferably sandy soil and full sun.
  • Prefers organic mulch, is very sensitive to phosphates, but responds well to light application of slow-release, low-phosphate fertilisers specifically designed for Australian native plants.
  • Banksias respond well to light pruning after flowering, but pruning too hard can kill them.
  • Sensitive to dieback (a soil-borne water mould, Phytophthora cinnamomi).

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Banksia menziesii in the Banksia Garden or growing naturally in Kings Park bushland and also in Bold Park bushland.

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Menzies' Banksia varies from 2 m to 7 m in height. Photo: D. Blumer. Banksia menziesii boasts large conspicuous terminal flowers from February to October. Photo: D. Blumer.Banksia menziesii, yellow variety. Photo: D. Blumer. Banksia menziesii seeds. Photo: D. Blumer.

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