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 obtusa is one of the prostrate species of the genus. It has horizontal stems which spread to about 1 – 2 metres and which may be partly underground. The leaves are long and narrow, being up to 30 cm long by 2 cm wide with blunt, triangular teeth along each side. The yellow flower heads form at the ends of the branches and are 3 to 5 cm in diameter. Flowers are seen in winter and spring and are surrounded by reddish/brown bracts.
B.obtusa is not commonly seen in cultivation but is one of the hardier species. It is likely to resent summer humidity but would be worth experimenting with in a range of well-drained soils and climates. It is reported to be slow growing and prefers full sun or partial shade. It should be tolerant of at least moderate frost.
Propagation from seed is relatively easy but cuttings are slow and difficult to strike.
Banksia obtusa (syn. Dryandra obtusa)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni
Images of all species in the former genus Dryandra can be seen in the Dryandra Study Group’s Dryandra Image Gallery