Unusual columnar habit of H. aculeata. Photo I. Holliday

Flowering habit (somewhat out of focus). Photo I. Holliday

Flowers - note the pollen presenter is not conical. Photo I. Holliday


Hakea aculeata A.S.George, Nuytsia 2: 375 (1979)

T: 14 km SSW of Cunderdin, Western Australia, 5 Oct. 1977, A.S.George 14960; holo: PERTH; iso: CANB, NSW, PERTH.


Shrub, to 3 m tall with columnar branches, lignotuberous. Branchlets densely villous below sparser longer hairs. Leaves crowded, particularly towards branchlet apex, erect, arranged in cylindrical whorl about stem, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, 2–4 cm long, 3–9 mm wide, attenuate or broadly cuneate, hirsute, mixed with short pubescence, longer hairs persisting near base, glaucous.

Inflorescence with 18–24 flowers; involucre 9–10 mm long; rachis 2–3 mm long, villous; pedicels 7–13 mm long. Perianth 2.5–3 mm long, mid-yellow. Pistil 7–10 mm long; pollen presenter a ±lateral disc.

Fruit obliquely broadly ovate, 1.3–2 cm long, 1.1–1.4 cm wide, smooth, glabrous. Seed obliquely elliptic, c. 15 mm long; wing encircling seed body.

Distribution and ecology

A rare species from the Cunderdin and Merredin area of south-western Western Australia Found in sandy loam or clay in tall shrubland or roadsides.

To plot an up to date distribution map based on herbarium collections for this species see Australia's Virtual Herbarium. Localities outside the native range may represent cultivated or naturalised records.

Flowering time

Flowers Sept.–Oct.

Derivation of name

Fromaculeatus, Latin for sharp-pointed, presumably a reference to the sharp point on the end of each of the leaves.



Part of Section Hakea of Bentham (as Euhakea) and characterised by a non-conical pollen presenter, leaves without obvious venation, perianths with or without hairs and fruits with or without horns. Barker et al. (1999) recognised a number of informal morphological groups within the section.

Despite it having a conical pollen presenter, H. ruscifolia was treated by Bentham as part of Sect. Hakea. The later described H. aculeata has an oblique pollen presenter.

Both species make up the Ruscifolia group and have flat leaves without any obvious venation and fruits which are not particularly woody nor retained for long on the plant. The seed covers almost the whole valve face and so the nature of the fruits would suggest a relationship close to the Prostrata (flat leaves) and Microcarpa (terete leaves) groups.


Closely related to and easily confused with H. ruscifolia , from which it differs in its lateral pollen presenter, glabrous fruit and wing encircling the seed body.

An endangered species known only from c. 19 populations. For a discussion of its endangered status see F.H.Mollemans et al. (1993), Declared rare flora and other plants in need of special protection in the Merredin district p. 53. Dept of Conservation & Land Management, Western Australia This species is also recognised as 'Endangered' in J.D.Briggs & J.H.Leigh, Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (1995).

Conservation status

See the current list of Hakea species gazetted in the Threatened Flora of  the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Hakea aculeata: approved conservation advice (approved Oct. 2008).

In Western Australia denoted as Declared Rare Flora - Extant: taxa which have been adequately searched for, and are deemed to be in the wild either rare, in danger of extinction, or otherwise in need of special protection, and have been gazetted as such, following approval by the Minister for the Environment, after recommendation by the State’s Endangered Flora Consultative Committee.

Atkins, K.J. (2008). Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia , 26 February 2008. (Dept of Environment and Conservation. Como , W.A.).

Representative specimens

W.A.: near Hines Hill, 21 km W of Merredin, Sept. 1929, W.E.Blackall s.n. (PERTH); 4 km E of Youndegin Hill, SE of Cunderdin, A.S.George 15770 (PERTH); 27.5 km S of Cunderdin, 4 Nov. 1983, L.J.Silvester s.n. (PERTH); c. 9 km SSW of Cunderdin, along verge of road to York, 5 Oct. 1977, J.H.Willis s.n. (PERTH).


Listed as a vulnerable species under the EPBC Act: see the approved conservation advice

Link to Florabase treatment for WA.


Further illustrations

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 8-9 (2005)

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 7 (2006)