29 December 2008

Violet Banksia - Banksia violacea

Click image to enlarge

Violet Banksia - Banksia violacea

A bushy shrub to 1.5 metres (5') with dark violet/purple globular flowers to over 6 cm (2.5") diameter. Common to the west of Esperance, particularly inland (around 30 km from the coast) along roadsides and pockets of Proteaceae heath/shrubland, just south of the uncleared mallee region. The west of Ravensthorpe is their main area of distribution and where they can more readily be found closer to coast.

Owing the dark coloration of the flowers they do not jump out at you, but when examined closely their true beauty becomes clear. Another plus is they produce substantial amounts of nectar and so attract birds and other wildlife.

The Violet Banksia is usually encountered in sandy soils overlying a heavier clay, rock or gravel (laterite) base, which will retain moisture at depth for longer periods. Normally they are flowering from November to February, but this can vary depending on timing and the extent of the limited seasonal rainfall. Due to their good nectar producing capabilities, they probably play an important ecological role by providing sustenance for animals in the lower story vegetation over summer.