Banksia speciosa At The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

Developing flower cluster
 
We're in the Santa Cruz area this week while family minds the house and the Hairy White Ones mind the family.  A visit to the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum yielded these images of Banksia speciosa.

B. speciosa grows as a large shrub or small tree from 1 to 8 meters (3-26 feet) tall.  The one on the left, not the one in the hat:
 Spent inflorescences containing up to 20 seed pods remain on the plant for years, until released to germinate and grow by a bush fire.  The entire plant dies in bush fires, because unlike some other Banksias, this species does not develop a lignotuber.  You may recall that lignotubers, a woody underground root mass containing dormant buds that can re-sprout new growth, are an evolutionary adaptation to habitats in which wild fires are common. Some California native plants also have lignotubers:  Malsosma laurina is a good example.

The specific epithet "speciosa" means "showy"

 Dried seed pods.   
 Nectar rich, the flowers attract pollinators such as bees and honeyeaters (in Australia) and hummingbirds (in California). 




 Banksia speciosa is native to sandy soil on the south coast of Australia between Hopetoun and the Great Australian Bight.

Comments

  1. It's a lovely thing, although its size would make me think twice about adding it to my garden. I hope you're thoroughly enjoying your trip!

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    Replies
    1. I saw some for sale in 3 gallon size, and they were already as tall as me.

      Yep, thoroughly! :)

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  2. Oh such gorgeous photos! I do hope to make it to Santa Cruz and the Arboretum, someday.

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    Replies
    1. I think you will. It's worth a visit, and they have great plant sales, if you need further motivation.

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  3. The shot with the hummingbird and flowers at different stages of development brought home to me for the first time the sheer number of florets on a Banksia flowerhead. I wonder how much time elapses between the opening of the first and last of those zillion nectar tubes.

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    Replies
    1. If mine ever grow large enough to flower, I'll find out.

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  4. Beautiful plants - but I was disconcerted to see banksias invading our mountains.

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    1. Yikes!!! That would be Not Good. What is/are the species?

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    2. That is one big plant with big ole seed pods. I like the sculptural look of those leaves. Have a great time on your outing. I bet the furry ones will miss you.

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    3. Our invader is Banksia integrifolia. I don't think it would be for sale at nurseries, so where has it come from?

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    4. Your comment led me to look around at SA invasives--SA and California have some of the same! Pampas Grass and Pennesetum setaceum grass,for example.

      One article said B ericifolia seemed to be a suspect appearing in the wild as well, so another to watch besides integrifolia. :(

      https://www.sanbi.org/resources/infobases/invasive-alien-plant-alert/banksia-ericifolia/

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