During a leisurely hike through Australia’s Popran National Park, Kym Beechey indulged in capturing the beauty of wildflowers through her lens. Known for her slow-paced hikes, where she immerses herself in nature’s wonders, Beechey often finds it challenging to capture the swift movements of wildlife in the area.
On a fortuitous day, however, she believed luck was on her side when she spotted what appeared to be a baby tawny frogmouth, resembling an owl, perched on a limb. Excitement surged through her, as birds were usually too fast for her camera.
Quickly grabbing her phone, Beechey set up to snap the seemingly smiling little bird. Zooming in for a better shot, anticipation filled her—only to be met with disappointment. The smiling bird turned out to be something entirely different.
As she adjusted her camera, Beechey realized the stationary “bird” was, in fact, a banksia pod—a unique and cute pod that resembled a smiling bird. Banksia pods grow on banksia trees, particularly in southwestern Australia, with sightings in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as well.
Often likened to pine cones, banksia pods are distinct fruit structures unrelated to pine trees. Emerging from Banksia genus trees, these pods, especially those from the Bull Banksia species, are sizable and robust, suitable for various wood applications.
The Banksia grandis species, capable of producing large seed pods, adds an artistic touch to crafts and is frequently showcased in online markets. After the vibrant red or yellow flowers of the banksia fall off, the cone persists on the tree, eventually growing seeds. Remarkably, one tree can host both flowers and grown cones simultaneously.
The unique appearance of banksia pods results from their bursting open, releasing seeds in the process. Although Beechey initially mistook the pod for a charming baby bird, she embraced the pleasant surprise with laughter. Despite the deception, the encounter added another delightful picture to her collection of exquisite wildflowers.
Given their distinctive characteristics, banksia pods can be easily mistaken for other entities, with each pod presenting a unique appearance within its own kind. Have you ever come across a plant that resembled something entirely different, perhaps taking on the guise of a bird or another animal?