orange splendour

flowers of Banksia prionotes

As autumn turns to winter the flowering season of Saw-tooth Banksia (Banksia prionotes) winds down. The orange flowers were particularly spectacular in the bushland at Lake Gwelup Reserve in the past few weeks.

black cockatoo eating banksia cone

Carnaby’s Black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) eat the seed and nectar of banksias and during flowering season there’s often chewed flowers strewn about below this stand of Saw-tooth Banksia. Black cockatoos are messy feeders and this can help the plant. When eating a banksia cone they will chew some of it to get seed, then throw the rest on the ground. The seed they miss can then grow.

mess left by black cockatoos feeding on Banksia prionotes

While many banksia species survive fire and the heat helps release seed from the cone [2], Saw-tooth Banksia is the exception. It’s the only tree banksia endemic to Perth killed by fire [1]. Seed may germinate at any other time which leads to thick stands of many trees such as at Lake Gwelup.

seedling of Banksia prionotes growing among mature trees

Scientific name Banksia prionotes

Common name Saw-tooth Banksia, Acorn Banksia

ants feeding on nectar of Banksia prionotes

Flower autumn

flower of Banksia prionotes at Star Swamp

There are a number of banksia species with orange flowers that are white in bud. Saw-tooth Banksia is the only one endemic to the Perth region, mainly north of the Swan River. Its range continues as far north as Shark Bay and some places in the Wheatbelt [1].

Seed cone

seed pods of Banksia prionotes after seed has been released

Growth habit compact, upright tree up to 10m

growth habit of Banksia prionotes

Florabase record



  1. Powell (2009) Leaf and Branch: Trees and Tall Shrubs of Perth. 2nd ed. DEC: Perth
  2. Thiele, Kevin (2007) “WA’s National Parks: Home to a Noah’s Ark of Flora” Landscope, vol.23, no.1, p.32-38.

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