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Banksia menziesii

Banksia menziesii, commonly known as firewood banksia, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Banksia. It is a gnarled tree up to 10 m (33 ft) tall or, in its northern range, a spreading shrub. The serrated leaves are dull green with new growth a paler grey green. The autumn and winter inflorescences are often two-coloured red or pink and yellow. First described by the botanist Robert Brown in the early 19th century, no separate varieties of B. menziesii are recognised. It is found in Western Australia, from the Perth region north to the Murchison River, and generally grows on sandy soils in scrubland or low woodland. It provides food for an array of invertebrate and vertebrate animals; honeyeaters and other birds are prominent visitors. A relatively hardy plant, B. menziesii is commonly seen in gardens, nature strips and parks in Australian urban areas with Mediterranean climates, but its sensitivity to root rot makes it short-lived in places with humid summers. It is widely used in the cut flower industry in Australia and overseas. (Full article...)

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October 9: Hangul Day in South Korea (1446); Leif Erikson Day in the United States

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From today's featured list

Map of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Cornwall
Map of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Cornwall

There are 167 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly). Cornwall, in the south-west of England, UK, has a population of 545,335 (mid-2014 est.) across an area of 3,546 km2 (876,235.7 acres), making it one of the least densely populated counties within England. The north coast of Cornwall falls on the Celtic Sea in the Atlantic Ocean, which also surrounds the Isles of Scilly, the south coast falls on the English Channel and the county is bounded by the River Tamar, forming the border with Devon, to the east. Cornish geology consists mainly of rocks from the Devonian and Carboniferous geological periods. In England the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features. Of the 167 sites designated in this Area of Search, the greatest number, 81, have been designated due to their biological interest, with 54 due to their geological interest and 32 for both. (Full list...)

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Zürich Opera House

The Zürich Opera House is an opera house in the Swiss city of Zürich. Located at the Sechseläutenplatz, it has been the home of the Zürich Opera since the current building was completed in 1891. It also houses the Bernhard-Theater Zürich.

Photograph: Roland Fischer

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