Banksia fraseri (syn. Dryandra fraseri)

Distribution Map
Family: Proteaceae
Distribution: Western Australia in heath or open forest.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name.
Derivation of Name: Banksia...after Sir Joseph Banks.
fraseri...after Charles Fraser, the first Superintendent of the Sydney Botanic Gardens.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild at the species level although one botanical variety is at risk.

General Description:

Banksia is a large genus of over 200 species in the Protea family, having been increased in size through the transfer of species in the former genus Dryandra to Banksia (see box). The genus is almost exclusively Australian, being found in all States and Territories. A single species (B.dentata) is found in islands to Australia's north as well as in tropical Australia.

Banksia fraseri
Banksia fraseri (syn. Dryandra fraseri)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni

Banksia fraseri has been cultivated by enthusiasts for many years and has proven itself to be one of the hardier species in the genus. There are three recognised varieties; var.fraseri is widespread over the entire range of the species from Kalbarri north of Geraldton to Cranbrook in the far south-west of the state; var.ashbyi has a coastal distribution in the northern part of the range; var.oxycedra has a very restricted occurrence south east of Geraldton and is regarded as endangered. The differences between the varieties are based on variations in foliage and habit:

Transfer of Dryandra to Banksia
A paper published in 2007 proposed that the genus Dryandra be subsumed into Banksia. This revised classification has been accepted by the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria and the new Banksia names now appear on Florabase (the website for the Western Australian Herbarium) and in the Australian Plant Census.

The new classification has come in for some criticism but, as the Austraian Plant Census has been adopted as the authority on plant names by ANPSA, the revised classication has been accepted on the ANPSA website. The previous Dryandra names will also be mentioned where appropriate. For further information see Banksia: Background.
  • var fraseri...sprawling plant to 1 metre with green or blue-green leaves (up to 100mm long by 15-20mm wide) which are deeply lobed almost to the midrib
  • var.ashbyi...low shrub with blue-green leaves which have more crowded leaf lobes
  • var.oxycedrus...large shrub to 6 metres with very narrow and elongated leaf lobes

There is another unnamed variety which may be given a botanical classification in the future.

The flowers clusters of B.fraseri are normally bright yellow and around 30-35 mm in diameter. They are conspicuously displayed either at the ends of stems or in the leaf axils and are seen in autumn and winter. Some forms of this species have flowers with a distinctly pink colouration.

Although one of the better known of the 'Dryandra Group' of banksias, B.fraseri is not grown to any great extent except by Australian plant enthusiasts. It has proven itself to be very reliable in areas where wet, humid summers are not experienced. It tends to become a bit untidy with age but responds well to pruning if required.

Propagation from seed is relatively easy and cuttings are also successful.

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