Hakea macrorrhyncha

Family: Proteaceae

Hakea macrorrhyncha is a tall, upright shrub, potentially reaching 6 metres with a spread of several metres; without a lignotuber.

It is found in a one small region in NSW, on the northern tablelands, from south and east of Glen Innes, extending in disjunct patches to the Queensland border, around areas such as Ashford and Jennings (in Queensland). It is listed as threatened with extinction in Queensland.

It grows in heathland/shrubland and dry sclerophyll woodland on granite outcrops.

Leaves are alternate to heavily clustered on stems, dark green, tubular and narrow, to 90 mm long and 2 mm wide, with a groove and crowned with a sharp point.

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, up to 4 flowers are produced in axillary clusters, about 3 cm across, white in colour and spread out along branches.

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. In this species, the periants are about 4 mm long, white in colour with the carpels to 8 mm long, also white.

They woody follicles are to 45 mm long by 30 mm wide, with prominent warts and a prominent beak to 10 mm long. The fruits are a conspicuous feature and large numbers clusters along the branches.

In the garden

Not a lot is known about this one in cultivation. It could possibly be cultivated successfully. As it is rare in the wild, it would be a nice addition to any garden. However, it may be hard to source. Check with native nurseries for availability.

Hakea macrorrhyncha would be an interesting addition to a shrubbery. The prickly foliage provides safe nesting sites for small native birds.

It may be overlooked for more ‘show-stopping’ hakeas, for any garden.

It grows naturally on granite outcrops, in a cooler part of NSW, so may need similar conditions to thrive such as a well-drained soil.


Propagate from seed.

Other information

The species was named, relatively recently, in 1996 from material collected in Girraween National Park, southeast Queensland.

Hakea is a genus of about 150 species of plants that are endemic to Australia, first described in 1788 by Joseph Gaertner, a German botanist. NSW currently has about 31 species, some which are species-complex.

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 Hakea spp. generally persist on plants until burned in a bushfire or until the plant dies. The fruit then splits open to release two winged seeds. This species likely regenerates from seed 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).

macrorhyncha – from Greek macros (μακρός) – meaning “large” and and rhynxos (ῥύγχος) which refers to a “beak” or “muzzle” or “snout” – capturing the elongated beak of the fruits of this species.

This species is not considered to be at risk in the wild in NSW. It is considered to be threatened with extinction in Queensland, and is listed as endangered.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Hakea macrorhyncha profile page    https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Hakea~macrorrhyncha

Wikipedia – Hakea macrorhyncha profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakea_macrorrhyncha

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke