Hovea linearis

Common Hovea

Family: Fabaceae subfam. Faboideae

Occurs predominantly in NSW on the coast, between Newcastle and Nowra but extends to the tablelands and western slopes; also in south-eastern Queensland. Mainly found in sandstone in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands.

Erect open shrub to about 1 m tall with hairy stems and branches.

Leaves erect, mostly linear to narrow-linear, to 11 cm long and 6 mm wide. The upper leaf surface is strongly veined with hairs on the underside.

Purple pea-shaped (papilionate) flowers are produced in July to September followed by the fruit which is a pod.

In the garden

Attractive in flower with its bright purple showy flowers, and hardy if it is given excellent drainage, some overhead shade and a cool root run. The author has found they do not perform well in prolonged dry conditions.

Can become weedy if planted adjacent to bushland as it seeds prolifically.


From scarified or heat-treated seed.

Other information

Conservation status – not known to be at risk in the wild.

Likely regenerates from seed after fire.

Hovea – in honour of Anton Pantaleon Hove (d. 1798), a Polish botanist employed by both William Aiton and Joseph Banks to collect plant material in India, West Africa and Crimea, amongst other places.

linearis – Latin for linear – referring to the linear narrow leaves

Robinson, L. (2003). Field Guide to the Native Plants of Sydney. 3rd Edition. Kangaroo Press, Pymble, NSW

By Jeff Howes