Banksia littoralis

Swamp Banksia grows in and around wetlands, lakes and rivers throughout the Swan Coastal Plain and the Darling Range. It’s common at Lake Gwelup. Some have been planted in revegetation projects eg. along the boardwalk. Others are original vegetation, like this enormous tree on the east side of the lake which is countless years old.

looking up to Banksia littoralis

When not in flower, an easy feature to identify Swamp Banksia is the narrow leaves which are green on top and white underneath.

“As gusts of wind pass through a swamp banksia its leaves will often turn over, and its foliage will appear to change colour from green to white.” [1]

Scientific name Banksia littoralis

Common name Swamp Banksia

Flower March – August

flower in bud

flower in bud

open flower

open flower

spent flower

spent flower

Seed pod fruit forms woody cone

Banksia littoralis cone

Among the trees at Lake Gwelup I can only find seed cones on the very old tree, despite the younger trees flowering every year. The height means I had difficulty taking photos. (I found this photo on Flickr.)

Associated wildlife Nectar available in winter is an important food source for birds. Larvae of a jewel beetle (Cyria vittigera) burrow in the trunk and the adult beetle eats the leaves. Weevil larvae burrow in the cone to eat the seeds. Banksia moth caterpillars (Danima banksiae) eat the leaves (and are amazing to see). The larvae of a gall wasp causes brown swellings on the leaves. [1]

Bark rough, grey

big old trunk

The trunk can grow huge like this tree at Lake Gwelup. Robert Powell believes they may live longer than other Perth banksias. [1]

large tree

Growth habit shrub or spreading tree up to 12m. Grows in or beside wetlands and watercourses. [1] After fire re-shoots from epicormic buds. [2]

young banksia growing by the water

Florabase record


  1. Powell, Robert (2009) Leaf and Branch: Trees and Tall Shrubs of Perth (2nd ed) Perth: DEC
  2. Barrett & Tay (2005) Perth Plants Perth: BGPA


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