Swamp Fox Banksia

Also known as the Marsh Banksia, the Swamp Fox Banksia is an aptly named banksia that grows amongst marshes and swamps in the lower west coast of Western Australia. This bush grows up to 2 metres tall and produces lots of nectar. It was first collected by James Drummond and Ludwig Preiss in 1840. It was known for many years as B. sphaerocarpa, but in 1980, it was recognised as its own distinct species.

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The Swamp Fox Banksia is a shrub

The Swamp Fox Banksia grows amongst scrubland in wet lowland areas of the coastal sanplain between Serpentine and Badgingarra in Western Australia. As it it has not been studied fully, not much is known about its conservation biology or ecology. However, we do know that it will grow only at the Geraldton Sandplains, Swan Coastal Plain, and the Jarrah Forest region.

The Swamp Fox Banksia is an upright brush that grows up to 2 metres tall. Its stems and branchlets are hairy, and it has straight and narrow leaves that are between 1.5 – 3 cm long. Like other banksias, its flowers occur in inflorescences or ‘flowre spikes’ which consist of flower pairs that are densely packed around the spike. The spike contains between 500 to 900 golden brown to pale brown flowers. Each consist of a tubular perinath which is composed of 4 fused tepals, as well as a wiry style. The styles of the Swamp Fox Banksia are hooked and are trapped inside the upper perianth parts. Flowers will bloom during April to August. It takes between 5 to 6 weeks to develop and will flower for 2 weeks. These flowers are known to produce enormous quantities of nectar – so much so that it will drip onto the ground.

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This shrub is native to WA

A. S. George categorised the Swamp Fox Banksia as a Rare or Threatened Australian Plant in 1987. However, Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation does not consider this plant to be rare, but they have included this species on the Declared Rare and Priority Flora List.

The Swamp Fox Banksia is not often cultivated. This is because it is a fast grower, but it quickly becomes untidy. Its flower spikes are attractive, but is often obscured by foliage. Plants need to be in a sunny position where there is poorly drained soil. Its seeds to not require any special treatment and will take 14 days to germinate.

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