Banksia aemula, commonly known as the wallum banksia, is a shrub of the family Proteaceae. It is found from Bundaberg south to Sydney on the Australian east coast. It has wrinkled orange bark and shiny green serrated leaves, with green-yellow flower spikes, known as inflorescences, appearing in autumn. It grows in coastal heath on deep sandy soil known as Wallum.
About Banksia aemula in brief
Banksia aemula, commonly known as the wallum banksia, is a shrub of the family Proteaceae. It is found from Bundaberg south to Sydney on the Australian east coast. It has wrinkled orange bark and shiny green serrated leaves, with green-yellow flower spikes, known as inflorescences, appearing in autumn. The flower spikes turn grey as they age and up to 25 finely furred grey follicles appear, which can be very large, measuring 3–4. 5 cm long, 2–3.5 cm high, and 2 3. 5 wide. It was known for many years in New South Wales as Banksia serratifolia, contrasting with the use of B. aemula elsewhere. The former name, originally coined by Richard Anthony Salisbury, proved invalid, and Banksia Aemula has been universally adopted as the correct scientific name since 1981. It derives its specific name “similar” from its resemblance to the closely related Banksia serrata. B. aemulas closely resembles Banksia. serrata, but the latter can be distinguished by a greyer, not orange-brown, trunk, and adult leaves wider than 2 cm in diameter. It grows in coastal heath on deep sandy soil known as Wallum, giving rise to the common name of the ecological community it grows in. The indigenous people of Stradbroke Island knew it as mintie banksia.
Banyalla is another aboriginal name for the species. B Banksia aEMula was collected by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown in June 1801 in the vicinity of Port Jackson, near Sydney. The specific name refers to its similarity to its close relative, B. Serrata in his work Insulae Van Diemenae van Diemen, in his 1810 Prodromus Florae Novae Holland, Vol. 10, p. 10. It can be grown as a garden plant, but it is less commonly seen in horticulture than its close friend B. Serrata and is usually smaller than the latter. It resprouts from its woody lignotuber after fire, and can be measured at 8.3 m high, with a maximum diameter at breast height of 44 cm in forest on North Strad Broke Island. The shiny green leaves are obovate to oblong in shape and measure 3–22 cm in length, and 1–2 cm in width, and the leaf ends are truncate and the margins flat and serrated. Anywhere from 800 to 1700 individual small flowers arise from a central woody spike. Initially tipped with white conical pollen presenters, the flowers open sequentially from the bottom to the top of the flower spike over one to two weeks, in a process known as sequential anthesis. Each flower produces nectar for around seven days after opening.