Friday, July 1, 2011

It's a Banksia!




Did you have a guess at what the curiosity shot was? It's a Banksia Integrifolia flower spike, commonly known as a coast or coastal banksia.  The banksia is another amazing Australian native and comes in many different colours and varieties. This coastal banksia was on the shore edge of the beach we went to on Sunday and also Monday's beach.

Above is how the flower spike looks as the flower is developing. If you look carefully at the top of the young flower spike below you will notice some of the many hundreds of tiny individual flowers at various stages of growing out from the main woody axis.







Mostly these flower spikes point directly up (as below) but sometimes they can be curved (above).




The photo above shows a typical banksia flower spike and also the silvery-grey underside of the leaves. To me it appears to be a very strong and handsome/regal looking flower. It lasts quite a long time when cut and is great for floral arrangements (but I wouldn't cut any from the beachside).




The photo above is taken looking directly down onto a flower spike, still in bud. You can just see the edge of an open flower spike beside it. The individual flowers open very quickly, starting at the base of the flower spike, with as many as 390 springing open within 24 hours. I've not actually noticed this process but am keen to look out for it next time I'm around a banksia tree.




Over several months the flower parts wither and drop off, leaving the "cone" with several follicles which then mature and release one or two seeds each. In the "cone" above I think we may have a couple of seed wings protruding from a follicle near the top on the left-hand side.




Here you can see many stages of the flower occurring at the same time. The coast banksia is quite common and widespread along the east coast of Australia. Wikipedia states that the coast banksia is one of the four original banksia species collected by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770 as he accompanied Captain James Cook on his voyage of discovery along Australia's east coast.




The coast banksia is a very hardy tree growing to about 25 m high and will grown well in a variety of environments. Maybe I should try one in our yard. This photo was taken Monday as we were whale watching. I've often admired the banksia flowers but never really looked too closely. I've really enjoyed looking more closely at my photos and taking the time to research a little about these wonderful Australian natives.

Sharing at Macro Friday, The Creative Exchange and Communal Global.

20 comments:

Cedar said...

Wow! What a fascinating plant and great photos! Love them!

Seraphina´s Phantasie said...

Once more WOW. Beuatiful plants and pictures. Its amazing !!! I wish you a wonderful weekend. Best regards Synnöve

Mira said...

wow! that is beautiful! I've never seen it before. I'd love to see different colors.

Heart n Soul said...

ha ha .... of course it is!! ...I should have known :)

Jill said...

Such an interesting and beautiful flower!

deb duty said...

That was very interesting. I enjoyed reading all about this beautiful flower. My favorite photo is the last one that shows the banksia with the ocean in the background. What a gorgeous view!

Linda Makiej said...

Really great macro shots!!
Have a great weekend!! :)

~ Noelle said...

what a neat and cool flower
thanks for sharing

Katherine said...

Cool! Thanks for sharing photos and information about Banksia. The flower shop I worked for here in Calgary carried Banksia in several colours - it's so unusual compared to the flowers most Canadians are familiar with that our display always made people stop and ask what it was.

Andrea said...

thanks for sharing that interesting plant!

Sizzle and Zoom said...

What amazing beautiful photos!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Such an interesting plant! The photos are amazing. Hope you have a great weekend!

My garden haven said...

I shall certainly take a closer look at flowers like your banksia now that you have caught my attention. Will be in Western Asutralia at the end of the month. Will I be able to see native plants in bloom in winter?
Rosie

Nadege, said...

I never tire of looking at our wonderful Australian flora. Thank you for sharing

Barb said...

Thank you for the 'tour' of a banksia - it's an amazing, wonderful plant. Your photos did it justice.

lisa said...

What an amazing flower this is, and it is truly beautiful across its entire life cycle! I have never seen anything quite like it.

Thank you for sharing these wonderful photographs today at The Creative Exchange.

lisa.

Angela@the crazyness that is me said...

What great photos and an amazing plant!

Tamar SB said...

That is so cool! I have never seen one of those! THanks for sharing!

Pat said...

Interesting info about the banksia and a group of excellent photos! I love the last shot which shows them growing near the sea!

Simone said...

Great capture, such great detail and perspective. I am travelling away from home at the moment and you have been successful in making me homesick!

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