Banksia marginata Cavanilles (1800)
Named by the botanist Antonio Cavanilles, from the Latin marginatus, having margins. The under-side of the leaf has a recurved edge giving the appearance of a margin. Type collected near Port Jackson NSW by Luis Nee in 1793.This is the most common and variable banksia in the east. It can be a small shrub of 1m to a tree of more than 10m. In the past it was used as a timber tree.
B. marginata thrives in coastal situations along much of Victoria and into the western parts of the State, from Stawell near the Grampians across to the Dandenongs and through to the NSW border. It is very common around the Gippsland Lakes area where our subject was taken from an old 1m shrub with trees nearby of over 7m.
Confusing species: Banksia canei is a very confusing plant, far less common and never coastal, usually growing from 500 to 1000m elevation. Its adult leaves can be finely serrate but the leaf apex is mucronate (having a sharp spine on the end). B. canei does not hold its old flower parts on the cone which has broad follicles with a prominent keel across the unopened seed. B. marginata leaves have truncate ends (as though the leaf end has been cut off) and its juvenile leaves are not deeply serrate.The seed follicles of B. marginata also differ by having thin edges before opening. They usually open when mature, whereas those of canei often remained closed until fire.
Distribution: NSW, VIC – Widely distributed on and south of the Great Dividing Range. SA – Found in similar areas to B. ornata. Tas - Widespread around the island, especially the east coast. On Flinders, King and Bruny Islands.
Conservation status: Not endangered.
Fire tolerance: Variable.
Flowering time: January to August.
Where to see: Very common along much of Australia’s east coast.