Banksia undata (syn. Dryandra praemorsa)

Distribution Map
Family: Proteaceae
Distribution: South west of Western Australia in open forest.
Common Name: Urchin Dryandra
Derivation of Name: Banksia...after Sir Joseph Banks.
undata...from Latin, undatus, a wave, possibly referring to the wavy appearance of the leaves.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

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 undata var.undata
Banksia undata var. undata (syn. Dryandra praemorsa var. praemorsa)
Photo: Brian Walters

Banksia undata var.splendens
Banksia undata var. splendens
(syn. Dryandra praemorsa var. splendens)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni

As a result of the transfer of the genus Dryandra to Banksia, Dryandra praemorsa was renamed Banksia undata as there is already a species known as Banksia praemorsa.

Banksia undata is probably the most widely cultivated members of the 'Dryandra Group' of banksias and one of the easiest to grow. There are two recognised varieties; var.undata and var.splendens. The latter is distinguished by being larger overall with larger leaves and flowers. The flowers of var.splendens are sometimes pink, in contrast to the usual bright yellow colour.

The species is a large shrub which may reach 3 metres x 2 metres. The leaves are slightly lobed with short spines but these are not particularly pungent and do not cause any difficulty in handling the plant. As indicated by the specific name, the leaves have a "chopped off" appearance. The flower clusters may be up to 60mm in diameter and occur at the ends of the branches in spring. They are popular as cut flowers.

B.undata is a spectacular, fast-growing plant which will grow and flower in subtropical climates but may not be long lived in those areas. In less humid areas the species has proven itself to be very reliable and would be a feature in any garden. The pink flowering form is particularly attractive.

Propagation from seed is relatively easy and cuttings are also successful. This species has been successfully grafted onto Banksia serrata and B.spinulosa var.spinulosa. Grafting should extend the range of successful cultivation.

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.

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