Dryandra Formosa is a beautiful Australian Native Flower that I've begun to grow at Swallows Nest Farm. It is an unusual flower that is from the Proteaceae family, as are many other well known Australian Native flowers. As recently as 2007 it has been re-classified at a Banksia, so is now known as Banksia Formosa. Its common name is Showy Dryandra, and it is!
The flowers are golden and at once furry and bristly - a strange combination which makes sense when you see them begin to open more. The bristles are very firm, almost plastic-like. A fibrous golden top, when all clumped together, forms the "furry" look. It has the appearance of velvet and catches the sunlight in a similar way.
The colour is difficult to describe too - golden orange, or old gold would be my best words to describe it.
Another feature of this unusual flower is that the leaves almost become part of the flower. The leaves grow immediately below the flower and are long and deeply zig-zagged. They are beautiful to use as a cut foliage.
Like most proteaceae plants, what we call the "flowers" are actually many small individual flowers clumped together. The diagram above shows that each bristle is an individual flower.
With so many flowers in each flower head, there are many opportunities for seeds. When you look at the seed heads of the Dryandra Formosa you can see why they've been re-classified as Banksias. The seed heads are very banksia-like, as are the seeds which are very dark and attached to a papery film, just like banksia seeds. Showy Dryandra grow well from seed.
Dryandra or Banksia Formosa are a great flower to use for weddings. You can see how the leaves are put to good use in the boutonnieres above. I love the way the leaves sit haphazardly.
The young flowers really catch the light because of the velvety texture. They look great in corsages too. Here, the young flowers are teamed with Pimelea Nivea or Bushman's Bootlace, Lipstick Boronia, Berzelia buttons and Grevillea.
The effect is different when the flower is more mature and the velvety texture is replaced with the tips of the bristles. Still lovely, just different. In this boutonniere, it is teamed with a Blusing Bride Serruria flower, Berzelia buttons, and flowering gum.
I really love the colour of this flower! It's not a "hit you in the eye" colour but it just provides so much depth. There are times when the colour combinations just sing! I think the wreath above would be a bit bland without the Showy Dryandra.
Again, in a brides bouquet, the Showy Dryandra really makes the colour palette. There's nothing else that adds the colour and texture quite like these amazing Australian Native blooms.