[Daily article] February 28: Banksia attenuata

Banksia attenuata, the candlestick banksia, is a tree in the family
Proteaceae. Commonly reaching 10 m (33 ft), it can be a shrub of 0.4
to 2 m (1.3 to 6.6 ft) in dryer areas. It has long narrow serrated
leaves and bright yellow inflorescences, or flower spikes. It is found
across much of the southwest of Western Australia, from north of
Kalbarri National Park south to Cape Leeuwin and then east to Fitzgerald
River National Park. Robert Brown named the species in 1810. Within the
genus Banksia, the close relationships and exact position of B.
attenuata are unclear. The tree is pollinated by and provides food for a
wide array of vertebrate and invertebrate animals in summer months,
including the honeyeaters and the honey possum, a tiny marsupial. The
plant regenerates from bushfire by regrowing from its woody base or from
epicormic buds within its trunk. It can live for up to 300 years. It has
been widely used as a street tree and for amenities planting in urban
Western Australia, though its large size generally precludes use in
small gardens. A dwarf form is commercially available in nurseries.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1844:

A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the warship was on a
Potomac River cruise, killing six people and injuring twenty others.

1897:

Ranavalona III, the last sovereign ruler of the Kingdom of
Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

1914:

In the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, Greeks living in southern
Albania proclaimed the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus.

1972:

Japanese police stormed a mountain lodge near Karuizawa, Nagano
Prefecture, to end a ten-day siege by members of the paramilitary group
United Red Army.

1997:

GRB 970228, a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, struck the
Earth for 80 seconds, providing early evidence that gamma-ray bursts
occur well beyond the Milky Way.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

millstone:
1. A large round stone used for grinding grain.
2. (geology) A coarse-grained sandstone used for making such stones;
millstone grit.
3. (figuratively) Often in a millstone round one’s neck (referring to
Matthew 18:6 in the Bible): a heavy responsibility that is difficult to
bear.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Great abuses in the world are begotten, or, to speak more boldly,
all the abuses of the world are begotten, by our being taught to be
afraid of professing our ignorance, and that we are bound to accept all
things we are not able to refute: we speak of all things by precepts and
decisions. The style at Rome was that even that which a witness deposed
to having seen with his own eyes, and what a judge determined with his
most certain knowledge, was couched in this form of speaking: “it
seems to me.” They make me hate things that are likely, when they
would impose them upon me as infallible.  
–Michel de Montaigne

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