Banksia paludosa subsp. astrolux: In 1985 a “Nattai” form of Banksia paludosa was recorded on the Southern Highlands of NSW. This form was significantly different from the “normal” form of Banksia paludosa. The normal form has a maximum height of two metres and has a lignotuber (a swollen mass at the base of the plant that will produce shoots if the plant is damaged). The Nattai form grows to a height of five metres and has no lignotuber.
The subspecies name, astrolux, means starlight and refers to the location of this rare Banksia. It is protected in Nattai National Park near the start of Starlight’s Track. Hence the common name: Starlight’s Banksia. Typical toothed, leathery leaves and long, narrow pale brown to golden brown flower spikes. Starlight’s Banksia has very limited distribution. Although it is protected in a National Park, this Banksia is at risk. Bushfires at too frequent intervals will prevent seedlings from maturing and producing seeds and could cause the extinction of Starlight’s Banksia. It is a handsome plant with colourful flowers and has great horticultural potential and should be brought into cultivation to ensure the survival of the subspecies. No doubt birds would be attracted to the flowers. Starlight’s Banksia is reputed to be fast growing and propagates readily from seeds and cuttings.