Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker


Hakea lissosperma R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 180 (1810)

Hakea acicularis var. lissosperma (R.Br.) Benth., Fl. Austral. 5: 515 (1870); Hakea tenuifolia var. lissosperma (R.Br.) Domin, Biblioth. Bot. 89: 592 (1921); Hakea sericea var. lissosperma (R.Br.) Ewart, Fl. Victoria (1931) 407. T: in montibus inter fl. Derwent & Huon, insulae Diemen [Tas.], 1804, R.Brown s.n.; ?holo: BM.

[Hakea vittata var. glabriflora auct. non J.M.Black ex J.H.Willis: J.M.Black ex J.H.Willis, Victorian Naturalist 73: 150 (1957), p.p. (French collection, MEL 643057 erroneously labelled as from a Wimmera region locality: W.R.Barker, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 7: 245 (1985))]

[Hakea macraeana auct. non F.Muell.: J.H.Ross, Census Vasc. Pl. Victoria 4th edn, 93 (1993)]


Dense rounded shrub or slender pyramidal tree 1–5 m high. Branchlets initially densely sericeous, with hairs ±persistent at flowering. Leaves narrowly divergent to widely spreading, terete, not grooved, 5–8 (–13) cm long, 1.1–1.6 mm wide, densely appressed-sericeous with white hairs, or rarely tomentose with brownish hairs, quickly glabrescent; apex porrect, with mucro 1–1.5 mm long.

Inflorescence axillary umbel of 6–8 flowers; rachis knob-like, simple, 1–2 mm long, densely white-tomentose; pedicels 3.5–5.5 mm long, moderately appressed-sericeous with white hairs, these sometimes extending sparsely onto perianth. Perianth 3.5–6 mm long, white or cream, not glaucous. Pistil 8–10.5 mm long.

Fruit 2.3–2.7 cm long, 1.7–2 cm wide, coarsely rugose, tuberculate or pusticulate; beak transverse, decurrent shortly down one side of fruit, with surface similar to rest of fruit; horns and apiculum obscure. Seed 15–16.5 mm long, 6–7 mm wide; wing decurrent 1/2–3/4 way down one side of seed-body only, black or dark brown.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in subalpine areas of south-eastern N.S.W. and Vic., and in Tas. from near sea-level to 1300 m.

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 Oct.–Dec. in alpine areas, earlier at lower altitudes.

Derivation of name

From lissos, Greek for smooth and sperma, Greek for seed. Brown gives no indication of the source for the epithet but perhaps the smooth surface of the seed body formed a direct contrast to the rounded-tuberculate surface of the fruiting body.



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. lissosperma was treated as part of the Sericea group, a predominantly eastern states group characterised by their simple terete leaves, few-flowered inflorescences, hairy pedicels and solitary, prominently woody fruits, these often markedly verrucose or pusticulate and usually with horns.

Other members of the group are H. actites, H. constablei, H. decurrens, H. gibbosa, H. kippistiana, H. leucoptera, H. macraeana, H. macrorrhyncha, H. ochroptera, H. sericea and H. tephrosperma, predominantly from the eastern states of Australia.  


A variable species in relation to habit, leaf thickness and flexibility and, rarely, hair covering, with much of the variability apparently related to habitat and exposure of the site. Collections from the Cape Pillar area of Tas. (e.g. Buchanan 3314) have much thicker leaves than usual (c. 2 mm wide) while some from the west coast (e.g. Procter s.n.) have leaves which are consistently c. 1.1 mm wide, but they appear not to differ in any other feature.

Floral measurements are based predominantly on Tas. material since the majority of material collected from Vic. and N.S.W. has only fruit present.

A new species which reproduces only vegetatively, H. asperma Molyneux & Forrester, has recently been described from the Upper Buchan River area in Victoria (W.M.Molyneaux & S.G.Forrester (2009). Muelleria 27(2): 224-226). Specimens have not yet been seen but from the description its closest relationships would appear to be with this species, although the description of the inside perianth might suggest other relationships.

H. asperma does not produce fruits and is only known by a single population of some 2000 "plants", all postulated to be of the same genetic makeup as in the other Hakea species which share this inability to prodcue fruits, H. aenigma and H. pulvinifera.

Representative specimens

N.S.W.: Snowy R. at Island Bend, Kosciuszko Natl Park, R.Coveny 5385 (MEL, NSW). Vic.: Mt Buffalo Natl Park, Mt Macleod Track, 3 km N of Junction with Reservoir Rd, N.G.Walsh 753 (MEL). Tas.: Sandy flats above Clytie Bight, Cape Pillar, A.M.Buchanan 3314 (HO); Dundas, near Zeehan, 7 Nov. 1980, L.Procter s.n. (HO).


Link to PlantNET treatment.


More photographs of this species can be seen on the Australian National Botanic Gardens site, on the University of Tasmania Flora of Mt Field site and in the Key to Tasmanian Plants pages.


This species features in Louisa Anne Meredith's 1891 Wooden Fruits painting, a copy of which is projected on the State Library of Tasmania’s Tasmanian Images.