A year ago I wrote about my first experiences with the Firewood Banksia, or Banksia menziesii. Funnily enough I called that blog post "Banksias up close: a post script", as reference to a previous blog post about Banksia ericifolia. Rather than being a post-script, I think it may have been the beginning of something new; the beginning of a love affair with Banksia.
It is entirely possible that each time I go to WA I will come back with a new favourite Banksia. This August, Ali and I discovered the gaudy, eye-watering colours of Banksia coccinea, the aptly named scarlet Banksia.
Banksia flowers are actually hundreds of tiny flowers grouped together. As the Banksia 'candles' age, they form multiple hard, woody fruits known as follicles. These hard woody fruits act as a protection for the seeds inside. In many species, the follicles are so tough that they require fire to break them open, and release the seeds. Many Banksias flower during autumn and winter, often at a time when not much else is flowering.