Silver Banksia

Did You Know?

  • Some types are fire-sensitive and rely solely on seed for regeneration; while other types are fire-resistant and can regenerate both through seed and from vegetative growth from a lignotuber
  • Nectar feeding birds, particularly honeyeaters, are a major pollinator, with bees, insects, small mammals also known to pollinate it
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Its genus name Banksia is named after Sir Joseph Banks, a British explorer and naturalist, and its species name marginata is from the Latin 'marginatus' meaning bordered, referring to the recurved leaf edges.

A variable species that occurs as a shrub, a flat-lying plant, or a tree, with smooth brown-grey bark. Grows up to 2 m high and wide as a shrub, less than 1 m as a flat-lying plant, and between 5 – 12 m as a tree.


Green on the upper surface and silvery underneath. Each leaf is linear to oblong-shaped, 1 – 8 cm long, 3 – 13 mm wide, and has finely-toothed edges. The edges are recurved (rolled under) and may have small serrations, and their tip can be blunt or squared.


Pale yellow cylindrical spikes forming a bottle-brush shape. Each flower head is 5 – 10 cm long and 4 – 6 cm wide and attracts nectar-eating birds.


Seeds are enclosed in dark brown follicles that are 7 – 17 mm long and are attached to a woody cone that is 15 – 60 mm long. The follicles become hairless as they ripen and usually open when mature.

Field Guide

Improve your identification skills. Download your Silver Banksia field guide here!

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What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • Open seed pods/follicles (record all days)

Climate Adaptations

Climate change will directly affect the ecological communities in which this alpine species resides. An increase in temperature and extreme heat events will reduce viable habitat for this species.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • From late summer through winter
  • Flowers appear from February to July
  • In Tasmania, flowering between September and April
  • Seed cones appear after flowers

Where To Look

  • South-eastern Australia on the coast and inland, from Baradine and Guyra in eastern NSW south through Victoria to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia
  • Also on Kangaroo Island, throughout Tasmania, and the islands in the Bass Strait
  • Coastal heaths, dry forest and woodland, and sometimes in swamps and on coastal dunes
  • Look along roadsides and in cleared agricultural areas
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What Else?

Similar Species

Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia) has larger leaves and flowers and its leaves are whorled around the stem (several coming out from the same point on the stem) instead of alternate like on Silver Banksia.

Mountain Banksia (Banksia canei) is found above 600 m in the semi-alpine areas of NSW and Victoria, it has some sharp points on its leaves, stouter flowers and larger follicles that remain closed for several years.

The Silver Banksia can be differentiated from most other banksias by its serrated leaves, the notch at the end of the leaf tips, and the silvery underside to its leaves.