I doubt anyone living around Lennox wouldn’t know a banksia when they saw one – beachfront banksias are ubiquitous. The Point is covered with them and they’re common street trees around the village, Lake and in the heath. They love the sandy soils in the village so they’re good plants for gardens but beware; banksias range in size from small bushes to towering trees growing to 25 – 30 metres tall, so not always good next to your house.
Banksias are a group of native trees and shrubs with a heritage extending back 100 million years to the ancient continent Gondwana. There are over 170 different species in Australia and around Lennox Head there are six. They range in size from shrubs to small trees with the smaller ones found in the heath behind the beach.
Banksias cope well with salt and wind and are happy in sandy soils with poor nutrients. Their roots form a dense, branched cluster that greatly increases absorption of water and nutrients via thousands of very fine root hairs. They also absorb nitrogen from the air and sequester it into the soil, enhancing soil nutrients.
Their woody cones are made up of several hundred flowers and the eye-catching, nectar-rich flowers attract honeyeaters, bees and other animals. The lumps and bumps on some cones are galls; swellings that develop on plant tissues due to fungal and/or insect damage and they add an unusual craggy look to the plants.
Banksia flowers are also tasty bush tucker. Lick the nectar off the flower or soak the flowers in water to make a sweet drink.
So, if you are looking for beautiful, unusual and colourful native plants with really impressive flowers and you live on sandy soils, look no further. Try one of these Lennox locals: *(Lennox Head Landcare sometimes has a few available for sale)
• Banksia ericifolia – a striking shrub usually 2-3 m tall but can grow to 6m in protected spots; reddish orange flowers; fine green leaves.
• Banksia oblongifolia – 1-2 m tall but can reach 3m in a protected spot; cream flowers; prefers wet sandy soils.
• Banksia aemula – up to 10 m tall though typically 3 – 6m; craggy orange coloured bark; serrated leaves; yellow green flowers.
• Banksia serrata – 5 to 25m tall depending on conditions; serrated leaves; interesting twisted wrinkled trunk; yellow grey flowers; also known as old man banksia.
• Banksia integrifolia – 5 to 25 m tall depending on conditions; green leaves white underneath; yellow flower; the most common banksia around Lennox.
• Banksia robur – 1 to 2 m naturally but can grow a bit taller in gardens; large serrated leaves; creamy yellow flowers.
And lastly, an interesting fact; banksias are named after the botanist Joseph Banks. He collected specimens back in 1770 while exploring the east coast with Captain Cook.
Working Bees for October (8am till 10am)
Wed 7th: Lake Ainsworth – south west corner
Wed 14th: Boulder Beach – Iron Peg car park
Wed 21st: Lower Lennox Point – surfer’s car park
Wed 28th: Boulder Beach – Iron Peg car park
Thurs 29th: Lower Lennox Point – Pinnacle Row
www.lennoxheadlandcare.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone Shaun on 0448 221 210 or find us on Facebook ‘Lennox Head Landcare’.