Family: Proteaceae

Common names: Heath-leaved Banksia, Needle-leaf Banksia

Category: proposed 1a NEMBA

Banksia ericifolia cone


Banksia ericifolia L.F is a large shrub of 3-6 m tall. The leaves are small, narrow linear dark, 9-20 mm long and 1 mm wide, two small teeth at the tips, crowded leaves, alternately arranged on the branches. Smooth grey-coloured bark with thin lenticels, thickened with age. Long orange or yellow candle-like flowers appear from April to September, spikes 7-22 cm tall and 5 cm wide; hooked styles projecting from the axis of the flower spike. Old flower spikes fade to brown and grey with age. Seeds retained in woody follicle, cones.

Banksia ericifolia cone


Banksia ericifolia is native in Australia and invasive in the United Kingdom and Hawaiian islands.

Banksia ericifolia

History in South Africa

Heath-leaved banksia was introduced in South Africa as a horticultural plant. One population has been recorded as invasive at Agulhas National Park and another record exists for the  Honingklip Farm at Kleinmond.

Environmental and economic impact

Heath-leaved banksia is drought tolerant once established in a habitat. Its potential distribution covers most fynbos areas in the Western Cape and has the potential to be highly invasive in fynbos. Heath-leaved banksia outcompetes natural vegetation and is capable of forming mono-specific stands under specific fire regimes, attaining twice the height of indigenous proteoids.

How it spreads

Heath-leaved banksia is spread by wind through seed dispersal. Seeds from old cones are released occasionally but seed release normally occurs in response to environmental triggers. Most seeds are released after fire. Plants resprout after cutting.

How to eradicate

Heath-leaved banksia is currently controlled by uprooting seedlings and cutting plants at ground level. There are no herbicides registered for this species in South Africa.

What can you do to help?

Report sightings of these plants to Early Detection and Rapid Response Programme (EDRR) at SANBI. We will need to know its locality (the exact locality, supply any landmarks or GPS information if possible)

Contact Details:

Ruqaya Adams or Alex Marsh


Tel: 021 799 8403/4

Photo credits: Sjirk Geerts


  • Honig, M. A., Cowling, R. M. and Richardson, D. M. 1992. The invasive potential of Australian banksias in South African fynbos: A comparison of the reproductive potential of Banksia ericifolia and Leucadendron laureolum. Australian Journal of Ecology, 17. Available on
  • Bradstock,R.A and Myerscough,P.J. 1981. Fire effects on seed released and the emergence and establishment of seedling in Banksia ericifolia l. F. Australian Journal of Botany (abstract) available on http://en.
  • Protea Atlas Project. 1991-2001. Banksia ericifolia. Kirstenbosch, South Africa. Available on
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