Name: Scientific name Banksia serrata.
Common name Old Man Banksia
The name Banksia was named after the English botanist Sir Joseph Banks. The tree or bush has a greyish coloured trunk, which is often gnarled and bent shape when in the form of a bush. The Banksia can grow very tail and you will find that the trunk is not a bent as would be it the form of a bush.
The mature leaves have a serrated edge and are dark green towards the top and silver on the underside of the leaf. While they can grow quite tall in the bush or the suburbs, you will find them fairly short and squatty on windswept headlands.
The flower spikes of Old Man Banksia are usually about 8 to 10cm wide and reach 12cm in length. The flower is cream in colour with a slight yellow tinge and the leaves are large and stiff with serrated edges.
The Old Man Banksia will flower from summer through autumn and the fruits of the Banksia serrata are hairy cones that are generally 13-15 mm long and 8-10 mm in diameter.
This plant can be used as a wind break, to attract native birds and the flowers and leaves are used
in floral arrangements.
Most commonly the tree will grow to a height of between 10 to 12 m, but in favourable conditions they have been known to grow to 15 in height with a trunk of about 75cm.
Sometimes on very windy headlands and plains the Banksia serrata will be stunted in its growth and only grow to around 3m in height, in the form of a bush rather than a tall tree.
The species is relatively easy to grow in many areas of Australia and it prefers the soil to be sandy rather than clayey and most of all it requires good drainage.
Grows best in full sun or very light shade and it’s a very hardy plant once it has established itself.
Natural propagation occurs when the fruits of the Banksia serrata release a hard seed for regeneration. This can be brought on by bush fires. High temperatures have also been known to initiate the release of seeds.
When to plant:
Due to the fact that these plants are extremely hardy they can be planted at anytime of the year.