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 footnote 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 has been cultivated by enthusiasts for many years and has proven itself to be one of the hardier species in the genus. There are five recognised varieties:
- var. fraseri is a sprawling plant to 1 metre, 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 is a low shrub with a coastal distribution in the northern part of the range
- var. oxycedra is a large, lignotuberous shrub to 6 metres with a very restricted occurrence south east of Geraldton. It is regarded as endangered
- var. crebra a low to prostrate shrub which grows in sand and gravel or pure gravel in heathland in the Badgingarra-Eneabba area
- var. effusa is a low shrub, less than 50 cm high which grows in Lateritic clay-loam near Mt Lesueur.
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.
Banksia fraseri (syn. Dryandra fraseri)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni