Our Bushland Diary

Sunday, July 12, 2009

the rather confused Banksia

Such fantastic weather this weekend inspired me to go for a long-ish bushwalk. I went out with friends to look for one of Ellenbrook's best kept secrets, maybe not a secret for much longer....

The HYBRID Banksia!!!
Check this out!

Why is this a hybrid? Well, it has the thin serrated-edged leaves, and yellow flower colour, of the Candlestick Banksia (Banksia attenuata). But see how the flowers are opening from the bottom of the inflorescence? The shape of the inflorescence is from the Firewood Banksia (Banksia menziesii). (Banksia attenuata has tall skinny inflorescences, like candlesticks.)

For comparison, here are photos of the two potential parents. On the left, Banksia menziesii (pink "acorn-shaped" flower, wide crimped-edge leaves), and Banksia attenuata (yellow cylindrical flower, skinny sawtooth-edged leaves), below.

Perhaps we can blame the European Honey Bee for this genetic mischief!

So, we think it's a
Banksia attenuata x menziesii. Cross-pollination probably doesn't happen that often because the trees flower at different times of the year, with only a small overlap in flowering times.

It's been 18 months since we found the tree in the top photo, and today we just had to go back into the bush and see if we could find it again. I was hoping to record the location properly for future research.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time, and didn't find the tree. Better luck next time!

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