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.
As a result of the transfer of the genus Dryandra to Banksia, Dryandra tenuifolia was renamed Banksia tenuis as the name Banksia tenuifolia had been previously applied to a plant taxon, although the name B.tenuifolia is not current.
Banksia tenuis has been cultivated by enthusiasts for many years and has proven itself to be one of the hardier species in the genus. There are two recognised varieties; var.tenuis and var.reptans. The former is a shrub to around 1 metre in height with the leaves having lobes along most of their length. Var.reptans is a prostrate plant where the leaves are lobed only towards the tips. Forms intermediate in features between the two varieties are known.
The leaves of B.tenuis are long and narrow, being up to 20 cm long, forming a tangled looking mass. The foliage is not, however, dense enough to obscure the flowers which occur on the older wood on short stems mainly in winter and spring. The flowers clusters of are about 50mm in diameter and brownish-yellow in colour.
B.tenuis has proven itself to be reliable in inland areas in well drained, sandy soils and has been flowered successfully in Sydney. The prostrate form makes an interesting ground cover although it may not be particularly quick growing.
Propagation from seed is relatively easy and cuttings are also successful.
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 refer to our Banksia page.
Banksia tenuis var. tenuis
(syn. Dryandra tenuifolia var. tenuifolia)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni
Banksia tenuis var. reptans (syn. Dryandra tenuifolia var. reptans)
Photo: Margaret Pieroni
Images of all species in the former genus Dryandra can be seen in the Dryandra Study Group’s Dryandra Image Gallery