Firewood Banksia

Botanical Name: Banksia menziesii
Flowering Period: March to September
Native to: Western Australia, from Pinjarra to Shark Bay.

The wood of this Banksia rapidly burns away to a fine ash, hence its name, Firewood Banksia. It grows in a crooked or gnarled fashion to between 8 and 15m high and has finely serrated leathery leaves that are 15-30cm long and 2.5-4cm wide. The leaf underside is covered with fine rust-coloured hair.

Its spectacular, 10cm long flower heads are cylindrical in bud, and change in colour from velvety silver-grey to red tipped with silver, before opening to release wiry golden styles. Like the Acorn Banksia, the Firewood flower spike opens from the bottom first, becoming acorn-shaped.  The petals take on wine-red, silver and gold colours, and are arranged in neat vertical rows.

Birds such as the Western Spinebill, the Red Wattle Bird and Little Wattle Bird, and the Singing, Brown, New Holland and White-cheeked Honey-eater feed on the Banksia’s nectar during its long flowering period.

Location in Zoo: Opposite Cockatoo exhibit.

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