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Natural populations

Banksia integrifolia extends along much of the coast and adjacent hills of eastern Australia [1,2]. Three subspecies have been recognised [3]:

These are small to medium-sized trees often only 5 m tall but attaining up to 15 m tall on favourable sites.

Flowering and seeds

This species flowers during January to July [1,2,4,5]. The fruits usually produce two seeds per follicle which are often released spontaneously, usually within a year after maturation. There are about 40 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 7 days if grown at 25°C and no pretreatment is required [5].

Cultivation and uses

Banksia integrifolia is a fast-growing tree suitable for coastal plantings where resistance to wind and salt exposure is important [2]. It prefers sandy acidic soils and is moderately drought and frost tolerant. The heartwood of B. integrifolia is pinkish to red, useful for ornamental turnery and is occasionally used for cabinetwork and in panellings where a red-hued, ray-blazoned timber is required [2]. It is an important species to apiculture for its pollen and for the dark amber coloured honey which is of medium value [4]. Nectivorous birds will be attracted to the species when it is flower [6].

Key descriptors:
Subsp. intergifolia:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 850-1200 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 6-27 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 27-32 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 3-13 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free or up to 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Altitude: 0-200 metres
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight tolerance (2-4 dS m-1)

Subsp. compar:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 850-1200 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer
Mean annual temperature: 12-30 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 28-32 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 10-13 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free
Altitude: 0-100 metres
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Tolerance of adverse soils
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight tolerance (2-4 dS m-1)

Subsp. monticola:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 850-1200 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer
Mean annual temperature: 4-24 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 25-28 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 3-8 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 500-1700 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Frost: tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Tolerance of adverse soils
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils

Descriptors in common:
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Wind: tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or 2. moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained or poorly to imperfectly drained
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall or tree 5-15 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: moderate to fast
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding
Root system: forms root suckers, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: tolerates salty coastal winds
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Wood density: low (less than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: low to moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: good ornamental attributes
Specialty products: flowers produce nectar for honey production, pollen has value for apiculture or foliage, fruits have potential for floriculture
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant, ideal maintenance free street tree
Wildlife value: flowers are especially attractive to birds
Wood products: boat building, craftwood (for turnery etc.), high quality fuelwood, light construction, panelling, speciality timber for quality furniture
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: variable - some plants coppice back
Susceptibility to disease or predation:  usceptible to root fungi (eg, Phytophthora, Armillaria)

References

[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Doran JC, Turnbull JW (eds.) (1997) Australian Trees and Shrubs: species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra [ACIAR books online: http://www.aciar.gov.au/publication/MN024 Accessed 24/02/2008]

Thiele K, Ladiges PY (1994) The Banksia integrifolia L.f. species complex (Proteaceae). Australian Systematic Botany 7: 393–408 [doi:10.1071/SB9940393]

[4] Clemson A (1985) Honey and Pollen Flora. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[5] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

[6] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksia_integrifolia [Accessed June 08]

Internet links

ABRS Species Bank: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/species-bank/sbank-treatment2.pl?id=12557

Botanic Gardens Trust: http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/education/for_students_and_teachers/bush_foods/Banksia_species

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales:http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Banksia~integrifolia

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banksia_integrifolia

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