The Banksia is a plant that most Australians are familiar with. There are story books written about Banksias by an Author and Artist named May Gibbs, with characters like Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and the big bad Banksia men. I used to read this book when i was a young. May Gibbs' house ( Nutcote ) is situated in the North Sydney area, and now she has passed away, it is a heritage listed education centre and museum dedicated to her work.
Banksias are a group of plants containing many species. They range from 15 metre trees to short shrubs or groundcover varieties, and there is one for most garden situations. Some will tolerate boggy or swamp like conditions, and others prefer rocky well drained soil on the sides of cliffs or on the coast where they endure salt spray. The one thing Banksias have in common is the shape of the flowers.... they have a distinctive candle - like shape, and the colours can vary from creamy white to reds and orange and yellow tones. Banksias are sometimes called Australian Honeysuckles, because the flowers produce an abundance of nectar that the birds- especially native Parrots- love.
Some common species of Banksia around Sydney are Banksia intergifolia, and Banksia ( Coast Banksia ) and Banksia serrata ( Old Man Banksia ). Plant breeders have released lots of really nice small growing varieties of the plant which are available in nurseries and garden centres.
I photographed these Banksias in a Sydney waterfront reserve.