Banksia ericifolia

Banksia ericifolia

name = Heath-leaved Banksia

image_caption = "Banksia ericifolia", cultivated at Colac, Victoria
regnum = Plantae
unranked_divisio = Angiosperms
unranked_classis = Eudicots
ordo = Proteales
familia = Proteaceae
genus = "Banksia"
species = "B. ericifolia"
binomial = Banksia ericifolia
binomial_authority = L.f.
subdivision_ranks = Subspecies
subdivision = *"B. ericifolia" subsp. "ericifolia"
*"B. ericifolia" subsp. "macrantha"|

"Banksia ericifolia", the Heath-leaved Banksia (also known as the Lantern Banksia or Heath Banksia), is a species of woody shrub of the Proteaceae family native to Australia; it occurs in two separate regions of Central and Northern New South Wales east of the Great Dividing Range. Well known for its orange or red autumn inflorescences, which contrast with its green fine-leaved heath-like foliage, it is generally encountered as a medium to large shrub that can reach 6 m (20 ft) high and wide, though is usually half that size. In exposed heathlands and coastal areas it is more often 1-2 m (3-7 ft).

"Banksia ericifolia" was one of the original "Banksia" species collected by Joseph Banks around Botany Bay in 1770 and was named by Carl Linnaeus the Younger, son of Carolus Linnaeus, in 1782. A distinctive plant, it has been split into two subspecies: "Banksia ericifolia" subspecies "ericifolia" of the Sydney region and "Banksia ericifolia" subspecies "macrantha" of the New South Wales Far North Coast which was recognized in 1996.

"Banksia ericifolia" has been widely grown in Australian gardens on the east coast for many years as well as being used to a limited extent in the cut flower industry. Compact dwarf cultivars such as "Banksia" 'Little Eric' have become more popular in recent years with the trend toward smaller gardens.


"Banksia ericifolia" grows as a large shrub up to 6 metres (20 ft) in height, though often smaller, around 1–2 metres (3–6 ft), in exposed places such as coastal or mountain heathlands. The grey-coloured bark is smooth and fairly thin with lenticels; however it can thicken significantly with age. The linear dark green leaves are small and narrow, 9–20 mm (⅓–¾ in) long and up to 1 mm wide, generally with two small teeth at the tips. The leaves are crowded and alternately arranged on the branches. New growth generally occurs in summer and is an attractive lime green colour.The Banksia Atlas]

Flowering is in autumn or winter in cooler areas; the inflorescences are flower spikes 7–22 cm (3–10 in) high and 5 cm (2 in) broad or so. Each individual flower consists of a tubular perianth made up of four fused tepals, and one long wiry style. Characteristic of the taxonomic section in which it is placed, the styles are hooked rather than straight. The styles' ends are initially trapped inside the upper perianth parts, but break free at anthesis, when the flowers open. The spikes are red or gold in overall colour, with styles golden, orange, orange-red or burgundy. Some unusual forms have striking red styles on a whitish perianth. Very occasionally, forms with all yellow inflorescences are seen. Though not terminal, the flower spikes are fairly prominently displayed emerging from the foliage; they arise from two- to three-year-old nodes.

Old flower spikes fade to brown and then grey with age; old flower parts soon fall, revealing numerous small dark grey to dull black finely furred follicles. Oblong in shape and 15–20 mm (⅓–⅔ in) in diameter, the follicles are ridged on each valve and remain closed until burnt by fire. "Banksia ericifolia" responds to fire by seeding, the parent plant being killed. As plants take several years to flower in the wild, it is very sensitive to too-frequent burns and has been eliminated in some areas where this occurs. With time and the production of more cones with seed-containing follicles, however, plants can store up to 16,500 seeds at eight years of age.cite journal |author=Honig MA, Cowling RM, Richardson DM |year=1992|title= The invasive potential of Australian banksias in South African fynbos: A comparison of the reproductive potential of "Banksia ericifolia" and "Leucadendron laureolum" |journal= Australian journal of ecology|volume= 17|issue=3 |pages=305–314 |id= |url= (abstract) |accessdate=2007-06-28|doi= 10.1111/j.1442-9993.1992.tb00812.x] Occasionally, plants occur which may produce multiple flower spikes from a single point of origin; these may be of varying sizes. [cite journal |last=Johnson |first=S |year=1992 |title=Multiple Flower Heads |journal=Banksia Study Report |volume=9 |pages=58 |id=ISSN 0728-2893] [cite journal |last=Blake |first=T |year=1988 |title=Multiple Heads |journal=Banksia Study Report |volume=8 |pages=2 |id=ISSN 0728-2893]


"B. ericifolia" was first collected at Botany Bay on 29 April 1770, by Sir Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Solander, naturalists on the "Endeavour" during Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific Ocean.cite book | editor = William J. L. Wharton (ed.) | year = 1893 | title = | location = London | publisher = E. Stock] cite web | author = Banks, Sir Joseph | title = 29 April 1770 | work = Banks's Journal | url = | accessdate = 2006-10-25] However, the species was not published until April 1782, when Carolus Linnaeus the Younger described the first four "Banksia" species in his "Supplementum Plantarum". Linnaeus distinguished the species by their leaf shapes and named them accordingly. Thus the species with leaves reminiscent of heather (at the time classified in the genus "Erica") was given the specific name "ericaefolia", from the Latin "erica", meaning "heather", and "folium", meaning "leaf".cite book | author = Carolus Linnaeus the Younger | year = 1782 | title = Supplementum Plantarum | location = Brunsvigae | publisher = Orphanotrophei] This spelling was later adjusted to "ericifolia"; thus the full name for the species is "Banksia ericifolia" L.f.APNI | name = "Banksia ericifolia" L.f. | id = 53469]

While many "Banksia" species have undergone much taxonomic change since publication, the distinctive "B. ericifolia" has remained largely unchanged as a species concept. As a result of this, the species has no taxonomic synonyms; it does, however, have three nomenclatural synonyms. The first synonym, "Banksia phylicaefolia" Salisb, was published by the English botanist Richard Anthony Salisbury in his 1796 "Prodromus stirpium in horto ad Chapel Allerton vigentium". It was intended as a replacement name for "B. ericaefolia", but Salisbury gave no reason why such a replacement was necessary.cite book | first = Richard Anthony | last = Salisbury | authorlink = Richard Anthony Salisbury | title = Prodromus stirpium in horto ad Chapel Allerton vigentium [] | location = London] The name was therefore superfluous, and hence illegitimate.APNI | name = "Banksia phylicaefolia" Salisb. | id = 54856] The second synonym arose from Otto Kuntze's 1891 challenge of the name "Banksia" L.f., on the grounds that "Banksia" J.R.Forst & G.Forst had been published before it, for the genus now known as "Pimelea". Kuntze transferred all "Banksia" species to the new genus name "Sirmuellera", in the process publishing "Sirmuellera ericifolia" (L.f.) Kuntze.APNI | name = "Sirmuellera ericifolia" (L.f.) Kuntze | id = 22941] The challenge failed, however; indeed, his entire treatise was widely rejected. Finally, in 1905 James Britten mounted a similar challenge, proposing to transfer all "Banksia" species into "Isostylis". "B. ericifolia" L.f. became "Isostylis ericifolia" L.f. (Britten).APNI | name = "Isostylis ericifolia" L.f. (Britten) | id = 48101] This challenge also failed.

A recent change to the species' taxonomy is the recognition, in 1981, of an infraspecific taxon. The existence of different forms of "B. ericifolia" was first recognised in 1979 by the amateur botanist Alf Salkin, who noted three distinct forms of the species, with one being a possible hybrid with "Banksia spinulosa" var. "cunninghamii". Salkin gave his northern form the provisional infraspecific name "microphylla",cite book | last = Salkin | first = Abraham Isaac | title = Variation In Banksia in Eastern Australia: An Investigation Using Experimental Methods | publisher = Monash University | date = 1979 | location = Clayton, Victoria | pages = 239 ] but when Alex George published a formal description in his 1981 "The genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae)", he named it "B. ericifolia" var. "macrantha".The genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae)] In 1996, it was promoted to subspecific rank as "B. ericifolia" subsp. "macrantha".

Placement within "Banksia"

"Banksia ericifolia" has traditionally been described as lying within series "Spicigerae" of "Banksia", together with "Banksia spinulosa" and various western Hairpin-like Banksias such as "B. seminuda" and "B. brownii". This series in placed in "Banksia" sect. "Oncostylis" according to Alex George's taxonomy of Banksia,cite journal | author = George, Alex | year = 1981 | title = The genus "Banksia" L.f. (Proteaceae) | journal = Nuytsia | volume = 3 | issue = 3 | pages = 239–473 | id = ISSN|0085-4417] cite book|author=George, Alex|year=1999|chapter=Banksia|editor=Wilson, Annette (ed.)|title=Flora of Australia: Volume 17B: Proteaceae 3: Hakea to Dryandra|pages=175–251|publisher=CSIRO Publishing / Australian Biological Resources Study|id=ISBN 0-643-06454-0] but directly into "Banksia" subg. "Banksia" in Thiele's arrangement based on cladistic analysis.cite journal | author = Thiele, Kevin and Pauline Y. Ladiges | year = 1996 | title = A Cladistic Analysis of Banksia (Proteaceae) | journal = Australian Systematic Botany | volume = 9 | issue = 5 | pages = 661–733 | doi = 10.1071/SB9960661] Kevin Thiele additionally placed it in a subseries "Ericifoliae", but this was not supported by George.

Under George's taxonomic arrangement of "Banksia", "B. ericifolia"'s placement may be summarised as follows::Genus "Banksia"::Subgenus "Banksia":::Section "Banksia":::Section "Coccinea":::Section "Oncostylis"::::Series "Spicigerae":::::"B. spinulosa" - "B. ericifolia" - "B. verticillata" - "B. seminuda" - "B. littoralis" - "B. occidentalis" - "B. brownii"::::Series "Tricuspidae"::::Series "Dryandroidae"::::Series "Abietinae"::Subgenus "Isostylis"

Molecular research by American botanist Austin Mast suggests that "B. spinulosa" and "B. ericifolia" may be more closely related to "Banksia" ser. "Salicinae", with includes "Banksia integrifolia" and its relatives.cite journal | author = Mast, Austin and Thomas J. Givnish | year = 2002 | title = Historical biogeography and the origin of stomatal distributions in "Banksia" and "Dryandra" (Proteaceae) based on Their cpDNA phylogeny | journal = American Journal of Botany | volume = 89 | issue = 8 | pages = 1311–1323 | id = ISSN|0002-9122 | url = | accessdate=2006-07-02 | doi = 10.3732/ajb.89.8.1311]

In 2005, Mast, Eric Jones and Shawn Havery published the results of their cladistic analyses of DNA sequence data for "Banksia". They inferred a phylogeny markedly different from the accepted taxonomic arrangement, including finding "Banksia" to be paraphyletic with respect to "Dryandra".cite journal | last=Mast| first=Austin R.|authorlink=Austin Mast| coauthors= Eric H. Jones and Shawn P. Havery | year = 2005 | volume = 18 | issue = 1 | title = An Assessment of Old and New DNA sequence evidence for the Paraphyly of Banksia with respect to Dryandra (Proteaceae) | journal = Australian Systematic Botany | pages = 75–88 | doi = 10.1071/SB04015] A full new taxonomic arrangement was not published at the time, but early in 2007 Mast and Australian botanist Kevin Thiele initiated a rearrangement by transferring "Dryandra" to "Banksia", and publishing "B." subg. "Spathulatae" for the species having spoon-shaped cotyledons; in this way they also redefined the autonym "B." subg. "Banksia". They foreshadowed publishing a full arrangement once DNA sampling of "Dryandra" was complete; in the meantime, if Mast and Thiele's nomenclatural changes are taken as an interim arrangement, then "B. ericifolia" is placed in "B." subg. "Spathulatae".cite journal | last= Mast|first= Austin R.| coauthors= Kevin Thiele | year = 2007 | title = The transfer of Dryandra R.Br. to Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae) | journal = Australian Systematic Botany | volume = 20 | pages = 63–71 | doi = 10.1071/SB06016]

Hybrids with "B. spinulosa" var. "spinulosa" have been recorded in the wild, at Pigeon House Mountain in Morton National Park. "Banksia" 'Giant Candles' was a chance garden hybrid between "B. ericifolia" and "B. spinulosa" var. "cunninghamii". [cite web | author = Australian Cultivar Registration Authority | title = Banksia 'Giant Candles' | work = Descriptions of registered cultivars | url = | accessdate = 2006-11-15]


Two geographically distinct forms are recognised:

;"Banksia ericifolia" subsp. "ericifolia": The nominate race is found in the Sydney basin, south to the Illawarra and north to Collaroy, as well as the Blue Mountains. The seedling leaves have 2–6 teeth on each margin, while the perianths are 19–22 mm (¾ in) long and pistils are 30–35 mm (1¼ in) long. Salkin noted that this subspecies often grew in association with "Banksia spinulosa" var. "cunninghamii" and that there were plants with longer leaves some 20–25 mm (¾–1 in) long with entire, curled margins. He gave them the name "longifolia" and suspected these may have been hybrids.

;"Banksia ericifolia" subsp. "macrantha": The northern race is found on the New South Wales north coast, from Crowdy Head northwards to the Queensland border. Described as a distinct subspecies in 1996 by Alex George from material he collected at Byron Bay in 1975, it is distinguished by finer foliage, more crowded leaves and larger flowers, with the perianths 26–28 mm (1 in) long and pistils 46–48 mm (1¾ in) long. The seedling leaves have one, or occasionally two teeth on each margin. Salkin observed that the inflorescences tended to be terminal rather than axial, and others have noted them to be sometimes taller than the nominate subspecies. Crowdy Bay, in particular, hosts specimens with spikes up to 26 cm (10 in) in height.

Name and symbolism

In 1992 it was adopted as the official plant of Sydney, [cite web | author = Sydney City Council
title = Sydney's Official Flower | publisher = Sydney City Council | date = | url =
accessdate = 2007-06-20
] and is sometimes seen in amenity plantings and parks around the city. It was known as wadanggari (pron. "wa-tang-gre") to the local Eora and Darug inhabitants of the Sydney basin. [cite book|author=Troy, Jakelin|year=1993|title=The Sydney language|publisher=Jakelin Troy| location=Canberra|isbn=0-646-11015-2|pages=p. 59]

Distribution and habitat

In nature, the variety "ericifolia" is found on acidic sandstone-based soils; either in elevated heathland within convert|2|km|mi of the coast around the Sydney basin, from Collaroy south to Jervis Bay, or elevated sandstone soils in mountainous areas such as the Blue Mountains and the Budawangs. These heathlands are often moist, with access to some form of underground water, and can even be quite swampy. It can form dense thickets with the Dagger Hakea ("Hakea teretifolia") and Scrub She-oak ("Allocasuarina distyla"). [cite book |author = Fairley A, Moore P |title=Native Plants of the Sydney District:An Identification Guide |year=2000 |edition= 2nd ed.|publisher=Kangaroo Press |pages=173 |location=Kenthurst, NSW |isbn=0-7318-1031-7] Other plants it associates with include the Coast Tea-tree ("Leptospermum laevigatum") and smaller plants such as "Woollsia pungens". The inflorescences are a feature of autumn bushwalking in sandstone areas, such as the Kings Tableland walk in the Blue Mountains, Jennifer Street Boardwalk in Little Bay, and Royal National Park.

The northern subspecies "macrantha" is found in two distinct regions on the far north coast of New South Wales; the first from Crowdy Bay on the Mid North Coast northwards to Hat Head National Park north of Port Macquarie, and then from Yuraygir National Park north to Kingscliff just south of the Queensland border. This variety is more strictly coastal with most populations being found within two kilometres of the coast, and may also be found in swampy areas. It may be associated with "Banksia oblongifolia".


Like other banksias, "B. ericifolia" plays host to a wide variety of pollinators and is a vital source of nectar in autumn, when other flowers are scarce. It has been the subject of a number of studies on pollination. A 1998 study in Bundjalung National Park in Northern New South Wales found that "B. ericifolia" inflorescences are foraged by a variety of small mammals, including marsupials such as "Antechinus flavipes" (Yellow-footed Antechinus), and rodents such as "Rattus tunneyi" (Pale Field Rat) and "Melomys burtoni" (Grassland Mosaic-tailed Rat). These animals carry pollen loads comparable to those of nectarivorous birds, making them effective pollinators.cite journal | first = Damian J. | last = Hackett | coauthors = Ross L. Goldingay | title = Pollination of Banksia spp. by non-flying mammals in north-eastern New South Wales | journal = Australian Journal of Botany | volume = 49 | issue = 5 | pages = 637–644 | doi = 10.1071/BT00004 | year = 2001] A 1978 study found "Rattus fuscipes" (Bush Rat) to bear large amounts of pollen from "B. ericifolia" and suggested the hooked styles may play a role in pollination by mammals. [cite journal| last=Carpenter| first= F. Lynn| year=1978| title=Hooks for mammal pollination?| journal=Oecologia|volume=35| issue=2| pages= 123–132| doi=10.1007/BF00344725] Other visitors recorded include "Apis mellifera" (European Honeybee).

A great many bird species have been observed visiting this species. A 1985 study in the Sydney area of "B. ericifolia" var. "ericifolia" found numerous creatures visiting the inflorescences, including the honeyeaters "Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris" (Eastern Spinebill), "Phylidonyris nigra" (White-cheeked Honeyeater), "Phylidonyris novaehollandiae" (New Holland Honeyeater), "Melithreptus lunatus" (White-naped Honeyeater), "Lichenostomus chrysops" (Yellow-faced Honeyeater), "Anthochaera carunculata" (Red Wattlebird) and "Anthochaera chrysoptera" (Little Wattlebird), as well as "Zosterops lateralis" (Silvereye). "Stagonopleura bella" (Beautiful Firetail) also associates with this species.cite book |last=Roberts |first=Peter |title=Birdwatcher's Guide to the Sydney Region |year=1993|pages=p. 141 |publisher=Kangaroo Press |location=Kenthurst, New South Wales |isbn=0-86417-565-5] Some mammals were recorded but were found to bear no pollen. Exclusion of certain pollinators showed that birds and insects were important for fertilisation. cite journal |last=Paton |first=D.C. |coauthors=V. Turner |year=1985 |title=Pollination of "Banksia ericifolia" Smith: Birds, mammals and insects as pollen vectors |journal=Australian Journal of Botany |volume=33 |issue=3 |pages= 271–286 |doi=10.1071/BT9850271] Additional species seen in "The Banksia Atlas" survey include "Lichenostomus leucotis" (White-eared Honeyeater), "Lichenostomus penicillatus" (White-plumed Honeyeater), "Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera" (Crescent Honeyeater), "Manorina melanocephala" (Noisy Miner), and species of friarbird for "B. ericifolia" var. "ericifolia" and "Lichmera indistincta" (Brown Honeyeater), "Phylidonyris melanops" (Tawny-crowned Honeyeater) and "Coracina novaehollandiae" (Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike) for "B. ericifolia" var. "macrantha".

Like most other Proteaceae, "B. ericifolia" has proteoid roots, roots with dense clusters of short lateral rootlets that form a mat in the soil just below the leaf litter. These enhance solubilisation of nutrients, allowing nutrient uptake in low-nutrient soils such as the phosphorus-deficient native soils of Australia.cite book|last=Harden|first= Gwen|year=2002|chapter=Banksia|editor=Harden, Gwen (ed)|title=Flora of New South Wales: Volume 2 (Revised Edition)|pages=204|publisher=New South Wales University Press|location= Kensington|isbn= 0-86840-156-0] The species lacks a lignotuber, and so is killed by fire and regenerates from seed.

"Banksia ericifolia" depends on fire for regeneration; if fires are too infrequent, populations can become aging and eventually die out.cite journal |author= Bradstock RA, Myerscough PJ |year= 1981 |title= Fire effects on seed release and the emergence and establishment of seedling in "Banksia ericifolia" L. f.|journal= Australian Journal of Botany |volume= 29|issue= |pages=521–531|url=|doi=10.1071/BT9810521] However, too-frequent fires also threaten this species, which takes around 6 years to reach maturity and flower. One study estimated an optimum fire interval time of 15–30 years. [cite journal |author= Bradstock RA, O'Connell MA|year= 1988 |title= Demography of woody plants in relation to fire: "Banksia ericifolia" L.f. and "Petrophile pulchella" (Schrad) R.Br.|journal= Austral Ecology |volume= 13|issue=4 |pages=505–518|doi=10.1111/j.1442-9993.1988.tb00999.x|url= (abstract)] For a large part of its distribution "Banksia ericifolia" grows near areas of human habitation on Australia's eastern coastline. Bushland near urban areas is subject to both arson and prescribed burns, drastically reducing fire intervals and resulting in the disappearance of the species from some areas. [cite conference |author=Bryant CJ, Willis M |title=Human Caused: Reducing the Impact of Deliberately Lit Bushfires |pages=1-6 |publisher= Australian Institute of Criminology|date=6-9 June 2006 |location=Brisbane |url= |accessdate=2007-06-29] [Citation | author = Cheney P | year = 1995 | title = Bushfires – an integral part of Australia's environment. | place =Canberra | publisher =Australian Bureau of Statistics] The hotter a fire the more quickly seed is released; timing of rains afterwards is also critical for seedling survival.

"Banksia ericifolia" is listed in Part 1 Group 1 of Schedule 13 of the "National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974"; this means that as a common and secure species it is exempted from any licensing or tagging requirements under the 2002-2005 management plan to minimise and regulate the use of protected and threatened plants in the cut-flower industry in New South Wales.cite web | title = National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974|work=New South Wales Consolidated Acts| publisher = Australasian Legal Information Institute | url = | accessdate = 2007-08-16]


"Banksia ericifolia" was one of the first "Banksia" species to be cultivated, having been introduced into cultivation in England in 1788. [cite journal | last = Cavanagh | first = T | year = 1982 | title = A note on the cultivation of banksias in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries | journal = Banksia Study Report | volume = 6 |pages = 29–32 | id = ISSN 0728-2893] By 1804, it had flowered in several collections. That year a painting of the plant by Sydenham Edwards was featured in "Curtis's Botanical Magazine", accompanied by text describing the species as "a handsome shrub [that] thrives freely".cite journal | title = | journal = Curtis's Botanical Magazine | volume = 19]

"Banksia ericifolia" inflorescences attract a variety of birds to the garden. [cite book |last=Dengate |first=J |title=Attracting Birds to Your Garden |year= 2000 |publisher=New Holland Press|pages=20 |location=Sydney |isbn=1-86436-411-4] Tough enough to be used as a street plant in parts of Sydney, "B. ericifolia" is a fairly easy plant to grow in the conditions it likes, namely a sandy, well drained soil and a sunny aspect. It requires extra water over dryer periods until established, which may take up to two years, as it comes from an area with rainfall in predominantly warmer months. It is resistant to "Phytophthora cinnamomi" dieback, like most eastern banksias [cite journal| last=McCredie| first=T.A.| coauthors=K.W. Dixon and K. Sivasithamparam|year=1985| title=Variability in the resistance of "Banksia" L.f. species to "Phytophthora cinnamomi" Rands| journal=Australian Journal of Botany| volume=3| issue=6|pages=629–637| doi=10.1071/BT9850629] As it grows naturally on acid soils, "Banksia ericifolia" is particularly sensitive to iron deficiency. Known as chlorosis, this problem manifests as yellowing of new leaves with preservation of green veins; it can occur on plants grown in soils of high pH. This can happen especially where soil contains quantities of cement, either as landfill or building foundations, and can be treated with iron chelate or sulfate. [cite book |author=Eliot RW, Jones DL, Blake T |title=Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation: Vol. 2|year=1985|pages=292 |publisher=Lothian Press |location=Port Melbourne |isbn=0-85091-143-5]

Flowering may take some years from seed; a minimum of four years is average. Buying an advanced plant may hasten this process, as will getting a cutting-grown plant. "Banksia ericifolia" can be propagated easily by seed, and is one of the (relatively) easier banksias to propagate by cutting. [cite journal |last=Maclean |first=R |year=1995 |title=Propagation of Banksias |journal=Banksia Study Report |volume=10 |pages=6–16 |id=ISSN 0728-2893] Named cultivars are by necessity propagated by cuttings as this ensures that the plant produced bears the same attributes as the original plant.

Regular pruning is important to give the plant an attractive habit and prevent it from becoming leggy. Hard-pruning below green growth is not advisable with this banksia: as it lacks a lignotuber, it does not have dormant buds below the bark that respond to pruning or fire and is hence unable to sprout from old wood as readily as commonly cultivated lignotuberous species such as "B. spinulosa" and "B. robur".The_Banksia_Book] For many years the horticulture industry focussed on registered selections of "Banksia spinulosa", but since the late 1990s more and more cultivars of "Banksia ericifolia" have come on the market, including colour variants and dwarf forms. This is especially important as the original plant may reach a size of 5 metres in height, and hence helps enthusiasts choose a plant that is right for their conditions and tastes.cite journal|author=Liber C|year=2004|title=Update on Eastern Cultivars|journal=Banksia Study Group Newsletter|volume=5|issue=1|pages=3–5|publisher= [ASGAP] |url= |accessdate=2007-06-23 |id=ISSN 1444-285X] "Banksia ericifolia" is also grown for the cut flower industry in Australia, though not to the degree that the western Australian species such as "B. coccinea" and "B. menziesii" are. [cite web | author = Sedgley M | title = The New Rural Industries: A handbook for Farmers and Investors | publisher = Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation | date = 1998 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-28]


There are a number of commercial varieties available from Australian retail nurseries, however none have yet been registered under plant breeders' rights legislation, and only one with the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority. The lack of official names has led to some varieties bearing several different names.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Bronzed Aussie' is a white-budded terminal-flowering form to 2 m with bronzed foliage; the inflorescences have honey-coloured pistils. It has been propagated by Victorian nurseryman Rod Parsons of Carawah Nursery in Hoddles Creek. A new release in 2003, its provenance is unknown; seed had been given to Rod's father by SGAP member many years ago.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Golden Girl' is a golden yellow-flowered form which grows to 1.5–1.8 m (5–6 ft) in height with blue-grey foliage. It has hidden wide fat flowers to 8 cm high and has been propagated by Rod Parsons of Carawah Nursery. Released in 2003, its provenance is unknown (seed donated to Rod's father by SGAP member many years ago.)
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Kanangra Gold', propagated by Kuranga Nursery in Melbourne, is a gold flowered form to 4 m (13 ft) from the Kanangra-Boyd region of the Blue Mountains. It is bushy and flowers are much paler than the regular orange or red forms.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Limelight', registered with Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) in 1987, is a large plant to 5 m (16 ft) with bright lime green foliage and orange blossoms. It is seldom seen due to the current focus on smaller forms for smaller gardens.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Little Eric' is a dwarf form to 1 or 2 m (3–6 ft); the inflorescences have maroon styles and whitish perianth. It is propagated by Richard Anderson of Merricks Nursery on the Mornington Peninsula southeast of Melbourne, the original having arisen as a chance garden seedling.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Purple Pygmy', also called "B." 'Port Wine', is a dwarf form propagated by Kuranga Nursery to 1 m (3 ft) with purplish foliage with claret flowers. It only flowers rarely and is difficult to propagate. Also, due to low demand it is only propagated in low numbers. [cite book |author=Eliot RW, Jones DL, Blake T |title=Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants Suitable for Cultivation: Supplement No. 1|year=1995|pages=B-51 |publisher=Lothian Press |location=Port Melbourne |isbn=0-85091-659-3] [cite journal |last=Blake |first=T |year=1988 |title=Banksia Cultivars |journal=Banksia Study Report |volume=7 |pages=17–18 |id=ISSN 0728-2893]
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'Red Rover' is a dwarf cultivar reaching 1.8 m (6 ft) with a more open habit than other forms of similar size. This form has lime green foliage and scarlet-red flowers and was propagated by Rod Parsons of Carawah Nursery from a garden selection and released in 2004.
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'St Pauls' is a dwarf form to 2 m (6 ft) with conspicuous red inflorescences which has been available from time to time from Cranebrook Nursery in Sydney's western suburbs. It was originally propagated from a plant cultivated at St Pauls' secondary school (a local high school).
*"Banksia ericifolia" 'White candles/Christmas Candles', also known as "B. ericifolia" 'Ruby Clusters', originates from a plant growing in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney's south. It has an unusual red style/white body colour combination somewhat reminiscent of "B. coccinea". The buds are white and contrast with the red styles that emerge through them. It is an open shrub to 3–4 m (9–13 ft).
*"Banksia ericifolia macrantha" 'Creamed Honey', so called as its flowers are the colour of creamed honey, is a pale flowered variant originally found at Crowdy Head on the New South Wales north coast. Propagated by Kuranga nursery, it grows to 4 or 5 m (12–16 ft) with a more open habit. It is notable in that it is the only cultivar of the northern subspecies of "Banksia ericifolia" currently available.


External links

*Flora of Australia Online | name = "Banksia ericifolia" L.f. | id = 3464
* [ "Banksia ericifolia" L.f.] , PlantNET: The Plant Information Network System of the Botanic Gardens Trust.
*APNI | name = Banksia ericifolia | id = 53469
* [ Growing Native Plants - Australian National Botanic Gardens - "Banksia ericifolia"]
* [ ASGAP page on "Banksia ericifolia"]

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