Plants of
South Australia
Banksia marginata
Silver banksia
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 13.


Banksia named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), a 19th century botanist and president of the Royal Society who travelled with Captain Cook on his first voyage to 'New Holland' in 1770. Marginata from the Latin 'marginatus' meaning bordered; referring to recurved leaf margins on some forms.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia, growing on sandy to clay soils in sclerophyllous heath, woodlands and forest. Also found in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tall shrub or small tree to 5 m tall. Leaves green with a square tip, smooth on the top side and white and hairy on the underside. Young leaves hairy all over with small serrations. Flowers are yellow in a large cylindrical cluster. Flowering throughout the year. Fruits are large, hairy, woody cone with numerous valves. Seeds are flat, dark brown, pyramid shaped seeds to 10 mm long with a large papery wing at one end. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect mature cones with obvious un-open valves. These will contain viable seeds. Mature cones can be hard to fine as very few are produced. Place cones in a tray and leave to dry until the valves open. Cones can be placed in the oven at low temperatures to achieve the same result. Place the dried cones in a bucket and shake to dislodge the seeds from the valves. Separate the seeds from the cone and store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 95%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily without pre-treatment.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
3,100 (25.1 g)
3,100 (25.1 g)
Kangaroo Island
1-Sep-200495%+5°C, -18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table: