Wikipedia:Today's featured article/June 2, 2010

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A gnarled tree-like Banksia prionotes

Banksia prionotes is a species of shrub or tree of the genus Banksia in the Proteaceae family. It is native to the southwest of Western Australia and can reach up to 10 m (30 ft) in height. This species has serrated, dull green leaves and large, bright flower spikes, initially white then opening to a bright orange. The tree is a popular garden plant and also of importance to the cut flower industry. Banksia prionotes was first described in 1840 by English botanist John Lindley, probably from material collected by James Drummond the previous year. There are no recognised varieties, although it has been known to hybridise with Banksia hookeriana. Widely distributed in south-west Western Australia, B. prionotes is found from Shark Bay (25° S) in the north, south as far as Kojonup (33°50′S). It grows exclusively in sandy soils, and is usually the dominant plant in scrubland or low woodland. Pollinated by birds, it provides food for a wide array of vertebrate and invertebrate animals in the autumn and winter months. It is an important source of food for honeyeaters (Meliphagidae), and is critical to their survival in the Avon Wheatbelt region, where it is the only nectar-producing plant in flower at some times of the year. (more...)

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