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The Desert Banksia
is a species of shrub in the plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...
Banksia is a genus of around 170 species in the plant family Proteaceae. These Australian wildflowers and popular garden plants are easily recognised by their characteristic flower spikes and fruiting "cones" and heads. When it comes to size, banksias range from prostrate woody shrubs to trees up...
which grows up to 3 m tall. It occurs in western Victoria
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....
, and in South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...
, where it is common on the Eyre Peninsula
Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in South Australia. It is bounded on the east by Spencer Gulf, the west by the Great Australian Bight, and the north by the Gawler Ranges. It is named after explorer Edward John Eyre who explored some of it in 1839-1841. The coastline was first explored by...
, Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is Australia's third-largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island. It is southwest of Adelaide at the entrance of Gulf St Vincent. Its closest point to the mainland is off Cape Jervis, on the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula in the state of South Australia. The island is long...
and east of Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...
, but is apparently absent from Yorke Peninsula
The Yorke Peninsula is a peninsula located north-west and west of Adelaide in South Australia, Australia, between Spencer Gulf on the west and Gulf St Vincent on the east. It has geographic coordinates of...
It tends to grow in mallee and heathland environments in sandy well drained soils.
Its flowers exist as cylindrical spikes which are initially yellow/green to yellow, and turn bronze in when aged. The Desert Banksia flowers in late winter to spring. The green leaves are elongated wedge shaped with serrated edges about 20 mm wide and 100 mm long.
Nectarivorous birds are attracted to this shrub; species observed feeding at its flowers include Anthochaera carunculata
(Red Wattlebird), Melithreptus brevirostris
(Brown-header Honeyeater), Melithreptus lunatus
(White-naped Honeyeater) and Zosterops lateralis