- A very variable species that occurs as a shrub, a flat-lying plant, or a tree, with smooth brown-grey bark.
- Size: up to 2 m high and wide as a shrub, less than 1 m as a flat-lying plant, and between 5 – 12 m as a tree.
- Leaves: green on the upper surface and silvery underneath. Each leaf is linear to oblong-shaped, 1 – 8 cm long, 3 – 13 mm wide, and has finely-toothed edges. The edges are recurved (rolled under) and may have small serrations, and their tip can be blunt or squared.
- Flowers: pale yellow cylindrical spikes forming a bottle-brush shape. Each flower head is 5 – 10 cm long, 4 – 6 cm wide and attracts nectar-eating birds.
- Fruit/seed: seeds are enclosed in dark brown follicles that are 7 – 17 mm long and are attached to a woody cone that is 15 – 60 mm long. The follicles become hairless as they ripen and usually open when mature.
What to Observe
- First fully open single flower
- Full flowering (record all days)
- End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
- Open seed pods / follicles (record all days)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?".
When To Look
- From late summer through winter
- Flowers appear from February to July. In Tasmania, flowering has been reported between September and April.
- Seed cones appear after flowers
Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout from late January!
Where To Look
- A range of habitats including coastal heaths, dry forest and woodland, and sometimes in swamps and on coastal dunes. It also occurs along roadsides and in cleared agricultural areas.
- It is naturally found in south-eastern Australia on the coast and inland, from Baradine and Guyra in eastern New South Wales, south through Victoria to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It also occurs on Kangaroo Island, throughout Tasmania, and the islands in the Bass Strait.
Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions!
Walther G, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J, Hoegh-Guldberg O, and Bairlein F 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416: 389–395.
Australian Biological Resources Study. 1995. Flora of Australia Volume 16. Australian Biological Resources Study/CSIRO Publishing.
Australian Biological Resources Study. 2000. Flora of Australia Volume 17a. Australian Biological Resources Study/CSIRO Publishing.
Australian Biological Resources Study. 1999. Flora of Australia Volume 17b. Australian Biological Resources Study/CSIRO Publishing.
Australian Government. 1988. The Banksia Atlas. Australian Flora and Fauna Series No. 8. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
Corrick MG & Fuhrer BA. 1999. Wildflowers of Victoria and Adjoining Areas. Bloomings Books, Hawthorn, Victoria.
Morley BD & Toelken HR (eds) 1983. Flowering Plants of Australia. Rigby, Adelaide.
Walsh NG & Entwisle TJ. 1996. Flora of Victoria. Vol. 3. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
- The Silver Banksia can be differentiated from most other banksias by its serrated leaves, the notch at the end of the leaf tips, and the silvery underside to its leaves.
- Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia): has larger leaves and flowers and its leaves are whorled around the stem (several coming out from the same point on the stem) instead of alternate like on the Silver Banksia.
- Mountain Banksia (Banksia canei): found above 600m in the semi-alpine areas of NSW and Victoria, it has some sharp points on its leaves, stouter flowers and larger follicles that remain closed for several years.
Did You Know?
Its genus name Banksia is named after Sir Joseph Banks, a British explorer and naturalist; and its species name marginata is from the Latin marginatus (bordered), referring to the recurved leaf edges.
Some types of Silver Banksia are fire-sensitive and rely solely on seed for regeneration; while other types are fire-resistant and can regenerate both through seed and from vegetative growth from a lignotuber.
Nectar feeding birds, particularly honeyeaters, are a major pollinator, with bees, insects, small mammals also known to pollinate the Silver Banksia.