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Banksia spp. (BANK-see-a)
Banksias are among the most unusual blossoms used in the cut
flower industry. The rugged look created by their serrated
leaves and large flower heads gives them a distinctive
appearance that is of great value in floral design. The actual
flowers are quite small, but they occur in dense clusters, often
numbering several thousand florets, which form cylindrical and
The blossoms are available in hues of yellow, red, orange, pink,
earth tones and green. The flower colors of some species and
cultivars change over time in vase solutions. The colors can be
altered using absorption floral dyes.
Banksias can last from six to 14 days as a fresh flower. They
will dry naturally and can last for several years.
Banksias are available year-round.
REFRIGERATION Most cut
flower experts say that Banksias can be refrigerated at
temperatures between 32 F and 38 F although some recommend
higher storage temperatures.
Banksias show a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.
HEAT SOURCES Place the
flowers in cool areas away from sun and heat sources.
blackening Low light and lack of flower food can cause leaves to
Banksias are members of the Proteaceae family, one of the oldest
known groups of flowering plants. Scientific studies of plant
life show that the family existed more than 300 million years
ago. The first illustrations of the family appeared in the early
1600s. Banksias’ relatives include Grevilleas (silk oaks),
Leucadendrons (conebushes), i (pincushions) and Proteas.
ORIGIN The flowers are
native to Australia.
HISTORY Botanists Sir Joseph
Banks (1743-1820) and Dr. Daniel Solander (1733-1782) are
credited with discovering the genus, and it was named after Sir
Banks in honor of his contributions to botany.
DRYING TIPS Banksias will
dry without shedding leaves or florets and are ideal for use in
dried flower arrangements. Stand Banksias upright in a bucket or
vase or hang them upside down, but avoid laying them down or
piling them together; otherwise, an unnatural shape will occur.
Store in a cool, dry location, and in about three weeks, the
dried flowers will be ready for designing.
information provided by:
The Chain of Life Network®,
Australian National Botanic Garden,
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP),
Photos courtesy of the Australian Flower Export Council (AFEC).
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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