Original artwork by Sharon Field.
Watercolour, graphite and gouache on paper, 39 x 32 cm, framed in black frame, 2020.
'Banksia integrifolia is commonly called the coast Banksia. This is one of the four original Banksia species collected by Sir Joseph Banks in 1770 during his voyage with Captain James Cook. I collected this cone recently in Bermagui, on the NSW south coast. I love the character of these tough gnarly cones.
This Banksia is a tree that grows along the east coast of Australia, from Victoria in the south of Australia to Central Queensland in the north. It can grow up to 25 metres in height, and its leaves are dark green on their upper surfaces with white undersides, a contrast that can be striking on windy days.
It is interesting that unlike most Banksia species, Banksia integrifolia does not require fire to trigger the release of its seed. Rather, seed is released spontaneously on reaching maturity in late summer. The species non-reliance on fire for seed dispersal suggests that the exclusion of fire would not affect plant populations, but a number of studies have found the opposite to be true. In areas where fire has been excluded for many years, populations have declined substantially'.