Foliage and flowers; limb of buds have rusty hairs. Wittunga Botanic Garden, Adelaide.  Photo  W.R.Barker

Foliage and flowers. Pollen on the pollen presenter indicates a male or a bisexual plant. Photo  W.R.Barker

Foliage and flowers; limb of buds have rusty hairs. Photo  W.R.Barker


Hakea epiglottis subsp. milliganii (Meisn.) R.M.Barker, Fl.Australia 17B: 394 (1999).

Hakea milliganii Meisn. in A.L.P.P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 395 (1856). T: in Ins. Diemen, occidentali, [Tas.], circa Macquarie harbour, 10 Oct. 1846, J.Milligan 737; lecto: NY, fide R.M.Barker loc. cit.; isolecto: BM, HO (as Gunn 737), K, W.


Functionally unisexual shrub, rarely hermaphrodite, compact, to 3 m high. Leaves terete, 1.5–7.5 (–11) cm long, 1–2 mm wide.

Inflorescence on male plants with 2–8 flowers, on female plants with 1–3 flowers; involucre 3–4 mm long; rachis c. 1 mm long; pedicels 3.5–5 mm long, densely white appressed-sericeous, with hairs extending on to perianth. Perianth 2.5–4 mm long, with yellowish white hairs on claw, ferruginous hairs on limb, pale yellow inside. Pistil recurved, 5.5–6.5 mm long; pollen presenter an oblique disc, 0.5–0.6 mm long, concave in male flowers, with a conical protuberance in female flowers; gland a slightly curved rectangular flap, 0.1–0.3 mm high.

Fruit sigmoidal, 1.4–2.6 cm long, 0.6–1.2 cm wide. Seed 9–12 mm long; wing partly down one side of seed body only.

Distribution and ecology

Apparently confined to the west coast of Tas. in the Zeehan to Macquarie Harbour area, probably in shrubby heaths of the hilltops.

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

The subspecies was named in honour of Joseph Milligan (1807-1884), surgeon and early collector of plants inTasmania.


How the infraspecific taxa differ

The two subspecies differ only in the hairs of a similar colour throughout the perianth in ssp. epiglottis compared with the claw with whitish hairs and the limb with ferruginous hairs in subsp. milliganii.

Ssp. milliganii is confined to the west coast of Tasmania in the Zeehan to Macquarie Harbour area whereas ssp. epiglottis is much more widely spread, occurring in all but the north-eastern part of Tasmania.


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.

The Rostrata group all share the characteristics of pubescent pedicel and perianth, oblique pollen presenter and woody, sigmoid fruits which are retained on the bushes.

Members of the group are H. cyclocarpa, H. epiglottis, H. megadenia , H. rostrata and H. rugosa .


Many populations consist of unisexual plants, i.e. either male plants or female plants. Unisexual plants in populations can be detected by examining the plants for fruit. Plants producing fruit (female) usually have no pollen within the flower, while those plants lacking fruit may be immature or male with the flowers producing pollen only. Plants on which fruit occur together with flowers producing pollen are bisexual. A number of populations of bisexual plants have been documented in Lee (1987), and the problem is discussed in more detail in Barker (1991).

H.M.Lee, The biology of Hakea epiglottis, Austral. J. Bot. 35: 689–699 (1987); R.M.Barker, Towards a revision of the Hakea epiglottis Labill. (Proteaceae) complex ofTasmania, in M.R.Banks et al. (eds), Aspects of Tasmanian Botany: a Tribute to Winifred Curtis, pp. 79–84 (1991).

Representative specimens

Tas.: Zeehan, Sept. 1893, Anon. (Herb. Weindorfer) s.n. (MEL 571278); 2 km S of Mt Darwin, P.Collier 4373 (HO); near Remine, Sept. 1893, W.V.Fitzgerald NSW182384 (NSW).