Hakea pycnoneura

Family: Proteaceae

Hakea pycnoneura is a rounded shrub that reaches a height of 2 metres by the same width; without a lignotuber.

It is endemic to the larger south-west of Western Australia, growing mostly in an area south of Geraldton, north to Kalbarri and about 100 km inland (Mullewa); then with a substantial disjunction on the south coast, in Cape Arid National Park (Mt Ragged – north-east of Esperance).

It grows in mallee shrublands and healthlands, on sandplains and rocky slopes.

Leaves are linear and narrow, up to 15 cm long by about 0.7 cm wide, with prominent veins. They tend to be greyish with silky hairs.

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, umbel-like to globular flower clusters, about 3 cm across, consisting of up to 80 small flowers, are carried in leaf axils. Blooms are very fragrant, appearing mostly 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 6 mm long, cream to pink-purple in colour, and the carpels are to 16 mm long and cream.

The follicles are produced in clusters of 1 to 9, to 2.5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide, somewhat corkey and only a slighy beak.

In the garden

This species is known to be cultivated and is reported to be very hardy in most Australian zones. It is best grown in full sun on a well-drained soil.

Author’s notes:

Hakea pycnoneura would make a fragrant hedge or screening plant.

Some years ago, on a trip to south-western Western Australia, we came across this species growing on a roadside. We were attracted by the strong flower perfume and handsome blooms.

Honeyeaters are attracted to the flowers. Our specimen flowered for the first time in August 2013 after two years in the ground. The flower clusters are similar in appearance to the better known Hakea petiolaris.


Propagate from seed and possibly cuttings.

Other information

The species name refers to the close venation of the leaves.

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 likley 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).

pycnoneura – from Greek pucnos (πυκνός) – meaning “dense”, “compact” or “thick” and –neura (νεῦρα) meaning “nerve” in this case – referrring to the prominent nerves in the leaves.

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

Western Australian Herbarium. Florabase – the Western Australian Flora. Hakea pycnoneura profile page https://florabase.dbca.wa.gov.au/browse/profile.php/2198

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

Electronic Flora of South Australia – Hakea pycnoneura profile page http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/efsa/lucid/Hakea/key/Australian%20Hakea%20species/Media/Html/Hakea_pycnoneura.htm

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