Banksia aemula Sieber ex Meisn.
Banksia conchifera Gaertn.
Banksia media Hook.f.
Banksia mitis Knight
Banksia serrifolia Knight
Banksia undulata Lindl.
Isostylis serrata Britten
Sirmuellera serrata Kuntze
Cultivated tree at Villa Durazzo-Pallavicini, Genova Pegli, Italy
Photograph by: Hectonichus
Banksia serrata is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 15 metres tall with a sparse, open crown, though it is often seen as a gnarled and stunted small tree with blackened rough bark as a result of surviving many bushfires. Sometimes, especially in exposed areas, it is no more than a shrub 1 - 3 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for its wood. It is often grown as an ornamental in gardens, parks, roadsides etc, especially within its native range. There are some named forms.
Australia - Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, southeast Queensland
Consolidated coastal dunes and in sand over sandstone on the coastal plain and in the Blue Mountains; usually in woodland, but also as a low shrub in tall shrubland[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Banksia serrata is a plant of the temperate to subtropical zone of southeast Australia.
One of the easier species in the genus to cultivate, it requires a sunny position and a light, well-drained soil[
]. The plant is only found on sandy soils in the wild.
The plant grows in areas where bushfires naturally occur at fairly frequent intervals. It has evolved mechanisms to allow it to survive this. Firstly, it has a thick bark that can insulate it from less intense fires; it can regrow from epicormic shoots, developing along the trunk about a week after the fire[
]. In addition, the heat of a fire stimulates the seeds to be shed from the 'cone', allowing the seeds to germinate and become established in the newly cleared soil[
Plants can take several years to commence flowering from seed.
The wood is a purplish, mahogany colour with a coarse, open grain, strong, not liable to split with nailing. It can form a mottled figure in certain sections. Like other Banksia woods it requires to be seasoned very carefully. A handsome, remarkably coloured wood, it is used for window frames; for knees etc in boat and ship-building; and would make good furniture. It is, however, often bored by the larvae of coleopterous insects[
Seed - surface sow in an ericaceous compost as soon as the seed is ripe or as soon as it is obtained and do not exclude light. Seal the pot in a plastic bag until germination takes place, which can take 1 - 3 months or more at 20°c[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in sand in a frame[
]. The cuttings can be slow to form roots[