Banksia Coccinea

Sprinkla

Mount Gambier, Australia

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Artist's Description

Banksia coccinea, commonly known as the Scarlet Banksia, Waratah Banksia or Albany Banksia, is an erect shrub or small tree in the plant genus Banksia. Endemic to south west Western Australia, it occurs from Albany (35°S) east to the Young River (33°47’S 121°10’), and north to the Stirling Range (34°24’S).

The Scarlet Banksia grows as an erect shrub or small tree up to 8 metres (26 ft) tall. Its leaves are flat, from 3 centimetres (1 in) to 9 centimetres (4 in) long, with large sharp teeth.

Although all Banksia species have flowers arranged spirally around the flower spike axis, in some species there is a vertical alignment superimposed on it. In Banksia coccinea, this vertical alignment is strongly accentuated by large gaps between the columns. Furthermore, neighbouring columns of flowers lean in opposite directions, resulting in bright red vertical columns consisting of many crossing flower styles, alternating with large vertical gaps through which the light grey perianths can be seen. The end result is a flower spike with elegant vertical red and white stripes.

The Scarlet Banksia was first published by Robert Brown in his 1810 On the Proteaceae of Jussieu. Because of the unusual appearance of its flowers, it is placed in its own section, Banksia sect. Coccinea, of subgenus Banksia subg. Banksia. No subspecies are recognised

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