Banksia heliantha (syn. Dryandra quercifolia)

Distribution Map
Family: Proteaceae
Distribution: Far south coast of Western Australia in shrubland.
Common Name: Oak-leaved Dryandra
Derivation of Name: Banksia...after Sir Joseph Banks.
quercifolia...with leaves similar to the genus Quercus, the Oak.
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 heliantha

Banksia heliantha
Yellow and pink-flowered forms of Banksia heliantha
(syn. Dryandra quercifolia)
Photos: Margaret Pieroni

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

Banksia heliantha is one of the most attractive species in the genus. It is a spreading shrub to about 2 metres high by a similar width. The leaves are stiff and about 100mm long with toothed margins. The new growth is a bronze colour and adds to the attraction of the plant. The bright yellow flower clusters may be up to 80mm in diameter and occur at the ends of the branches in spring. Dark brown bracts which occur at the base of the flowerheads give them a very attractive appearance. Pink flowered forms are also known and are in cultivation.

B.heliantha has proven itself to be reliable in inland areas in well drained, sandy soils but, like many others in the genus, cannot be regarded as suitable for areas of humid summer conditions. The large flower clusters are very popular as cut flowers and the species is being farmed for the cut flower trade.

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

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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