Saw Banksia Banksia serrata is native to the east coast of Australia. It is a small robust tree with rough bark and strappy leathery serrated leaves. The photo above shows a flower in its prime. The one below is the seedpod left after the flower withers. These seedpods give the species its alternative name of Old Man Banksia.
It was first collected by Sir Joseph Banks when he accompanied Captain James Cook in 1770 to Australia. The trees are resistant to fire and the cones only open to release seeds when exposed to smoke. It is used in public plantings in the area it grows naturally and is well adapted to Australia's phosphorus deficient soils.
Our posts on Sunday have an Australian theme. You can read others here.
Banksias' flowers are really spectacular and with such a variety of shapes and colors. I have a faint recollection I saw such a plant in flower in a park in San Francisco years ago. I'll have to check my photos, may be I'll be lucky.
You rarely see them outside of Australia (occasionally in botanic gardens). They are very picky about soil, like many Australian plants.
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