Hakea nodosa

Yellow Hakea

Family: Proteaceae

Hakea nodosa, Yellow Hakea, is a shrub reaching a height of 2 metres , spreading to about 2 metres wide.

It is a species found naturally in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia; growing westwards from about Bairnsdale in Victoria, mostly through the southern half of the state, into South Australia where it is found generally from Mt Gambier to Adelaide. It is found on Flinders Island and Tasmania but only in the far north-east of the state.

It grows in swampy areas on sandy – as part of swamp shrublands and swamp sclerophyll woodlands, as well as wetter heathlands.

Leaves are alternate, up to 5 cm long, to 0.25 cm wide, light green, usually needle-like and tubular, but sometimes flattened.

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 11 yellow to creamy-yellow flowers, are carried in clusters about 2 cm wide, in the leaf axils, densely arranged from May to August. 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 perianth is about 2.5 mm long, yellow, with the carpels to about 5 mm long, yellow to creamy-yellow.

The woody follicles are reported to be somewhat dimorphic, broad-ovate to globular, to 3.5 cm long by 3 cm wide, and can be strongly warty or very smooth (depending on age), with a very small beak. One form of fruit is smooth and opens whilst attached to the plant and not really woody. The other form is the usual form as seen in most other species, woody and warty and persisting for a long time, unopened, on plants.

In the garden

A plant that is known to be cultivated and used in bushland regeneration projects. It usually grows reliably and in full sun to part shade with some reliable moisture. It is reported to be a useful and fast growing screen plant and will tolerate wet conditions better than many other hakeas.

Some plants have deep yellow flowers which are very attractive.

Check with native nurseries for availability.


We have successfully propagated Hakea nodosa from cuttings as well as seeds.

Other information

The species name means knotty or gnarled referring to the fruit.

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).

nodosa – from Latin nodosus; meaning ‘knobby’ (the root of words like ‘nodule’) – a reference to the appearance of the fruits.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild

VicFlora – Flora of Victoria Online – Hakea nodosa profile page https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/2baee038-d35b-4149-84c9-97e9184cf88e

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Australian Native Plants Society Australia (ANPSA) – Hakea nodosa profile page https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/hakea-nodosa

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