Leaves and inflorescences; the inflorescences are at different stages. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves and inflorescences. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves and single inflorescence; note the long floral rachis. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves, inflorescences and camouflaged fruits; there are 2 fruits present. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves and fruit; note the jagged line of the fruit, similar to that of the leaf margin. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves, inflorescences and fruits; these fruits have lost their green coloration and were presumably from within the centre of the bush. Photo W.R.Barker

Illustration of H. cristata from Hooker's Icones Plantarum t. 443 (1842).


Hakea cristata R.Br., Suppl. Prodr. Fl. Nov. Holl. 28 (1830)

T: summit of peak, Darlings Ra., Western Australia, [1827], C.Fraser 21; syn: BM p.p., K p.p. (unnumbered); without locality, without date, C.Fraser 34; syn: BM p.p.


Straggly shrub to 2 m tall, lignotuberous. Branchlets glabrous, glaucous. Leaves subpetiolate, obovate, 4.5–8 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, attenuate, dentate with teeth mucronate, glabrous, red and glaucous when young.

Inflorescence with 24–42 flowers; involucre c. 5 mm long; rachis 8.5–15 mm long, hirsute, with hairs white or pale brown; pedicels 4–9 mm long. Perianth 2–3 mm long, cream-white, faintly scented, not glaucous.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 3.5–4.8 cm long, 2.3–3 cm wide, smooth, green, with toothed crest along sutures and abaxially; horns 5–8 mm long. Seed elliptic, 30–34 mm long; wing encircling seed body or broadly down one side, narrowly down other.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in the Perth and Darling Ra. area of Western Australia, in loam or clay soil in lateritic or granitic areas with open Wandoo woodland.

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 May–Aug

Derivation of name

From cristatus, Latin for crested, a reference to the crests along either side of the fruit.



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.

H. cristata is somewhat difficult to place since it shares characteristics with a number of groups. The flat spiny leaves, glabrous pedicel and perianth and the green fruits suggest a relationship with the Prostrata group, but the fruit is woody and has developed longitudinal crests. The fruit is retained on the plant and the seed occupies only part of the valve face whereas in members of the Prostrata group the seed usually occupies most of the valve face.  


The fruit of H. cristata is very distinctive with its toothed crest along either side of and above the suture, with two other ridges abaxially; the horns are decurrent with the crest. Mature fruit often remain green in colour and are frequently glaucous. Because of the crests, which resemble the margins of the leaves, they are well-camouflaged among the foliage.

Seedling leaves of H. cristata are flat and denticulate, resembling those of H. denticulata .

Representative specimens

Western Australia: near top of Red Hill, Toodyay Rd, A.S.George 875 (PERTH); Darlington, Darling Ra., 4 June 1904, A.Morrison s.n. (E); Helena Valley, J.Seabrook 15 (PERTH); Wooroloo Brook Area, F.G.Smith 1756 (PERTH).


Link to FloraBase treatment of this species for WA.


More photographs of this species can be seen on the Australian National Botanic Gardens site.

Further illustrations

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 52-53 (2005)

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 31 (2006)