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Australian Flowers - Hunt for the Banksia

   Australian Flowers - The Banksia

Australian Flowers - The Banksia                                                                                                                               

Our flowers last week included the beautiful Banksia plagiocarpa. This is a beautiful Banksia with a steely-Grey to Blue-Purple colour which sometimes appears to be Silver. Surprisingly, it was not 'described' until a revision of the genus in 1981, seemingly all but forgotten about after it was first collected in 1867 by John Dallachy, a quiet unassuming Scotsman. A Botanist and avid gardener, John Dallachy was the Curator of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens for many years where he toiled and established beautiful gardens, much respected and only occasionally drawing attention to himself such as in 1855 having to defend himself against accusations of shooting the water fowls within the Gardens for his dinner table! It was only upon his death in 1871 that the John Dallachy supporters and admirers demanded to know why his death had not received the proper acknowledgement that he deserved for his work as a Botanist.  In particular, why the Superintendent of the Gardens, Dr Ferdinand Von Mueller who was once the assistant to Curator John Dallachy, had not made any acknowledgement of his death at all. Furthermore, Mueller was then accused of not being worthy of his title of "Prince of Botanists" and that a Gardener he was NOT having ruined the Botanical Gardens with his poor garden work. However, although Dr Mueller's avid collections of plant specimens saw him have around 80 plant species that include his name today this Banksia is sometimes affectionately referred to as Dallachy's Banksia. Today, we thank men like Mueller and Dallachy for their hard work and love how we now can use beautiful Banksia in the cut flower industry. 

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