Hakea bakeriana

Family: Proteaceae

A medium-sized shrub growing to 1 or 2 metres high to 1 to 2 metres wide. It is often multi-stemmed.

It grows in open forest and heath on the central coast of New South Wales, between Newcastle and just south of the Hawkesbury River, around Glenorie and Wisemans Ferry. Typically found on moist to dry sandy soils.

It has bright green-narrow, pointed and tubular (terete) foliage, to 70 mm long and to only 2 mm in diameter with a mucro to 1 mm long, and is less prickly than that of many other Hakea species.

A hakea inflorescence is technically a cluster of paired flowers, termed a conflorescence (although sometimes the paired flowers are not evident) with the overall structure forming a clustered-raceme-like appearance. The inflorescences are always produced in the leaf axils, as opposed to the closely related Grevillea where they are mostly terminal. They can appear as a spider-flower-like cluster, or a rounded ball where flowers emerge around a 360° radius, or as a cylindrical raceme (which strongly resemble those of grevillea).

In this species, the inflorescences occur as loose clusters, with up to 12 flowers per cluster, in the leaf axils or often below the leaves; or from old wood (where there are no leaves) – a very showy trait where the inflorescences simply emerge from the woody stems. They range from a pinkish white to deep pink in colour.

Individual flowers are composed of 1 carpel (female part) where the style and stigma protrude out; 4 stamens hidden away in the perianth; and the perianth (petals and sepals collectively) which connects to a pedicel. Proteaceae flowers do not have any discernible petals or sepals (having only one whorl) and so these are referred to as ‘tepals’ of which there are 4.

The carpels are to 60 mm long, pink in colour. The perianths are white with tinges of pink. Flowering occurs in late winter through to spring.

The woody follicles are also very attractive, to 80 mm long by 45 mm wide. Despite their size, the follicles only contain 2 winged seeds.

In the garden

This species has been cultivated for many years and it proves hardy in most situation.

It prefers a sandy soil but has been grown successfully on clay soils as well. Grow in an open sunny position. It may be slow to start with and it can take several years for flowers to emerge. It can have the trait of producing inflorescences on old wood, so it may need some pruning to better expose the flowers. Prune to shape as well after flowering or fruiting. The follicles can last a long time.

Very good bird and insect attractor. It can also be kept small and so suits a wide range of gardens.

Hakeas are popular ornamental plants in gardens in Australia, and in many locations are as common as grevilleas and banksias. Several hybrids and cultivars have been developed, including ‘Burrendong Beauty’. They are best grown in beds of light soil, which are watered but still well-drained.

Propagation

Is easily grown from seed, which generally germinates in around two weeks but may take longer. Seed may be difficult to obtain due to the species’ restricted distribution.

The species can be grown from cuttings but these may not be particularly easy to strike.

Other information

Hakea is a genus of about 150 species of plants that are endemic to Australia. Was first described in 1788 by Joseph Gaertner, a German botanist.

Hakeas are similar to species of Grevillea but are distinguished from them in having persistent, woody fruits. Those of grevilleas are not persistent and not woody.

The fruit of Hakeas persist on the plant until burned in a bushfire or until the plant dies. The fruit then splits open to release two winged seeds.

This species also has a lignotuber from which it can re-sprout after fire.

Hakea – named after Baron Christian Ludwig von Hake (Baron von Hake of Hanover, 1745-1818), an 18th-century German patron of botany (and for whom not a lot of information can be found).

bakeriana – honours Richard Thomas Baker (1854-1941) an Australian teacher, economic botanist and later a curator of Sydney’s Technological Museum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakea_bakeriana

https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Hakea~bakeriana

By Jeff Howes, edited by Dan Clarke