March 18
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Plant Genus of the family Proteaceae

Genus Description Cultivation
Banksia Noted for their spectacular flowering spikes, handsome foliage and interesting fruiting cones, the genus Banksia is named after Sir Joseph Banks, the renowned British botanist who traveled with Captain Cook in 1770. Almost all of the 75 or so species are endemic to Australia with just one, Banksia dentata, a tropical species, extending from northern Australia to New Guinea. They vary from woody prostrate shrubs to low-branching trees. The thick leathery leaves are variously toothed. When in bloom they carry large cylindrical or globular flower spikes consisting of hundreds of densely packed, small individual flowers crowded in rows. As the flowers die they develop into large woody fruiting cones, which in many species are quite attractive. The flowers are long lasting when left on the bush or when picked for indoors, and many species are commercially cultivated for the cut-flower market. The flowers are rich in nectar and hold a great attraction for nectar-feeding birds. The majority occur in southwest Western Australia, but these are not always amenable to cultivation, especially in summer-rainfall areas. Species from eastern Australia are generally more adaptable and are reliable garden plants in most temperate areas. CULTIVATION: Most species prefer an open sunny position and a well-drained sandy soil low in phosphorus. Some banksias are moderately frost tolerant and once established, most will withstand quite dry conditions. Light tip pruning may be regularly carried out to maintain shape. Taking cut flowers encourages better flower production and foliage density. Propagate from seed, which is extracted from the cone after it has been heated in a hot oven.
Barklya Only a single species belongs to this genus, a small to medium-sized evergreen tree from southeastern Queensland, Australia, where it grows in poorer types of rainforest. The flowers are small but bright orange-yellow, crowded onto erect spikes produced abundantly just above the foliage canopy. The heart-shaped leaves are unlobed. Seed pods are small and flattened, similar to those of bauhinias. Barklya is prized for its ornamental qualities, but is not widely grown, on account of its slow growth and erratic flowering habits. CULTIVATION: It prefers a subtropical climate with ample summer rainfall and a drier winter, a fertile, well-drained soil, and a sheltered but sunny position. Propagation is easily achieved from seed but early growth can be quite slow.

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