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Wallum Banksia

Banksia aemula


Big Bird?... and with lots of hungry mouths to feed! Wallum Banksia, a shrub of the family Proteaceae, is quintessential Australian flora. Found on the Australian east coast, it is encountered as a shrub or a tree to 8 m (26 ft) in coastal heath on deep sandy soil known as "wallum". It has wrinkled orange-tinged bark and shiny green serrated leaves, with green-yellow flower spikes, known as inflorescences, appearing in autumn. The flower spikes turn grey as they age and large grey follicles appear. Banksia aemula resprouts from its woody base, known as a lignotuber, after bushfires.


This spotting was on the Neembeeba Track in Blue Lake National Park, North Stradbroke Island. Exposed area with native vegetation, extreme winds (at times), salty air, and sandy soil. Full all-day exposure to the sun. Naturally-seeded trees, and quite prolific on this part of the island.


May Gibbs, an Australian author, wrote a series of children's books called Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the first book in the series published in 1918. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies, are the protagonists of the story and are modelled on the appearance of young Eucalyptus (gum tree) nuts. The villains are the Banksia Men which are modelled on the appearance of aged Banksia 'cones', with follicles for eyes and other facial features.

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39 Comments (1–25)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 6 years ago

You are all too kind. Many thanks for all your beautiful comments. Never thought I'd win a place in any category, so 1st place in the Plant category is much appreciated. The deranged emu plant is very grateful too :)

triggsturner 6 years ago

Very well done on this win Neil. Always loved it, reminds me of some kind of crazy emu in disguise! A well deserved 1st place.

pamsai 6 years ago

Congrats, Neil...Yeah Australia with it's weird and wonderful nature.

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 6 years ago

Neil, one could tell this would be a winner...I am not surprised it made the top spotting. Well Done!

JamesPriest2 6 years ago

Well done mate.

Congrats Neil on the first place

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 6 years ago

Awesome! Congrats.

armadeus.4 6 years ago

Congratulations on this winner Neil!

DanielePralong 6 years ago

Congratulations Neil, this fantastic image was the most popular in the Plant category in our 2016 Best Photo contest!

Don't forget to join the 2017 Best Photo mission:

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

LOL Banksias tend to do that. As far as plants go, they're quite comical.

CalebSteindel 7 years ago

Mind = blown!

John Curry
John Curry 7 years ago

I saw an egg about 100 yards from the nest tree
It was broken on the pavement
I dont know if it was an eagle egg or a goose or somthing else
I took a photo but i dont see a way to attach it

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Marta. They have heaps of character, that's for sure.

The MnMs
The MnMs 7 years ago

Weird and cute-faced plant! :-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks guys. As far as I know, Lauren, the seeds are released from the cones and drop to the ground, where they are activated after bushfires. There's plenty of ash for the seeds to germinate in. Here's a good link with plenty of banksia info. Bansias are one of my best Aussie flora favourites.

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

So interesting Neil! Do seeds come out of those pods? What do they look like? Wind borne?


Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, James.

JamesPriest2 7 years ago

Great photo Neil.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thank you. This spotting was on North Stradbroke Island which is located just off Brisbane, in Queensland Australia. "Straddie" as it is known to the locals, is the world's second largest sand island. A great place to find plenty of wallum soil, and wallum banksias.

pride-clubdayjah1 7 years ago

that's really cool stuff where did you see that stuff.

DrNamgyalT.Sherpa 7 years ago

Congrats Neil for the SOTW!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

Thanks, Jim and Daniele. A nice introduction for those that have never seen a banksia.

DanielePralong 7 years ago

Congratulations Neil, and well deserved wit this fantastic series! Many of our followers had never heard of banksias, let alone this species.

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 7 years ago

Nice capture, did yourself proud with this posting!

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Dec 18, 2015
Submitted on Apr 30, 2016

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