Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Botany picture #66: Banksia heliantha

Banksia heliantha (Proteaceae), Australian National Botanic Garden, 2013. This species used to be known as Dryandra quercifolia but was transferred to Banksia in 2007. As in the case of the Epacridaceae being nested within the Ericaceae, it was discovered that Dryandra was nested within Banksia, and thus the former genus was sunk into the latter. And as in the case of the epacrids, in my eyes this should never really have been controversial. Epacrids look just like Ericaceae s.str. except they have lost one ring of stamens. Dryandras look just like Banksias s.str. except they have short head-like inflorescences instead of longer spike-like ones - the difference is merely how long a number of internodes in the inflorescence are.

A staff member of the ANBG once brought me a pot of a Dryandra as demonstration material for a talk and when he put it down, he said "I have never seen this species before, is it a Banksia?" No further comment needed.

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