Habitat and habit. Kangaroo Island, SA. Photo L.Haegi

Leaf variation in consecutive years. Photo L.Haegi


Hakea mitchellii Meisn., in A.L.P.P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 398 (1856)

T: without locality, [Pyramid Hill, Vic.], 29 June 1836, Major Mitchell's Expedition n. 208; ?holo: NY.

Hakea mitchelli Meisn., Hooker's J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 4: 208 (1852), nom. nud.

Hakea muelleriana J.Black, Fl. S. Australia 2nd edn, 2: 267 (1948), replacement name for: Hakea flexilis F.Muell. ex Meisn., Linnaea 26: 359 (1854), nom. nud.; H. flexilis F.Muell. ex Meisn., in A.L.P.P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 396 (1856), as flexibilis, nom. illeg. non R.Br.; H. ulicina R.Br. var. flexilis (F.Muell. ex Meisn.) C.Moore & Betche, Handb. Fl. New South Wales 243 (1893), nom. illeg. T: ad flum. Murray, 1847, C.Stuart s.n.; holo: MEL (herb. Sonder); iso: MEL 642275 p.p. (L.H.S. only).


Erect rounded shrub, 1–4 m tall, non-sprouting. Branchlets glabrous by flowering. Leaves uniform or seasonally heteromorphic, subterete to linear and trigonous, rarely obovate-linear, concave, 3.5–12 cm long, 1–10 mm wide, glabrous; venation not visible in terete leaves; longitudinal veins prominent and 3 at angles (marginal veins and midvein on underside) in trigonous and flat leaves; intermediate veins sometimes visible below, usually not visible above.

Inflorescence a solitary axillary umbelliform raceme, with 16–36 flowers; pedicels pink, glabrous. Perianth cream-white. Pistil 4.5–6.2 mm long; gland a small flap, c. 0.5 mm high.

Fruit ellipsoidal to ovoid, ±straight, 1.2–2.5 cm long, 0.2–1.3 cm wide, not beaked but usually gibbous towards apex, shortly apiculate. Seed obliquely elliptic, 8–15 mm long, 3.5–6 mm wide; wing extending down both sides of body, more broadly and further down adaxial side, sepia with blackish brown streaks and patches.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in S.A. on Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, on Kangaroo Is., and in the mallee south of the Murray R. as far south as Naracoorte, extending into western Vic. Found in dry regions, bounded approximately by the 250 mm and 500 mm rainfall isohyets, in mallee-heath vegetation in calcareous sandy soil.

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.–Jan.

Derivation of name

Named for the collector of the type of the species, Major Sir Thomas Livingston Mitchell (1792-1855).



Part of the Conogynoides group recognised by Bentham and characterised by a conical pollen presenter, veined leaves, glabrous perianth and fruits without horns. Barker et al. (1999) recognised a number of informal morphological groups within the section.


One of these was the Ulicina group. This group of 21 Hakea species was combined morphologically because they all have simple flat leaves or leaves which are apparently terete but when looked at in cross section are clearly angled; these angled leaves are longitudinally furrowed and often referred to as sulcate. Furthermore the group has inflorescences with 6-80 small flowers (with 3-18 mm long pistils) and erect woody fruits.  

Members of the group are H. aenigma, H. carinata, H. costata, H. cygna, H. dohertyi, H. erecta, H. gilbertii, H. invaginata, H. lehmanniana, H. marginata, H. meisneriana, H. mitchellii, H. myrtoides, H. pycnoneura, H. repullulans, H. rigida, H. scoparia, H. stenocarpa, H. sulcata, H. subsulcata and H. ulicina, mostly from southern WA but also from south-eastern Australia.  


Flat leaves are confined to Kangaroo Is. populations. For a discussion of the complicated nomenclatural history of this species see Haegi & Barker, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 7: 268 (1985).

Representative specimens

S.A.: 1 km by road W towards Cape du Couedic from Remarkable Rocks, L.Haegi 402 (AD); at base of Carappee Hill Ra., c. 1.5 km NE of summit, L.Haegi 1321 (AD, DNA, NSW); S shore of Nepean Bay, P.C.Heyligers 80056 (AD, CANB); Scorpion Springs Conservation Park, S of Pinnaroo, D.E.Symon 8767b (AD, B, CANB, NSW). Vic.: Red Bluff, Big Desert, c. 53 km (direct line) N of Adelaide to Melbourne highway, R.V.Smith 59/185 (AD, MEL).


Link to SA eFlora treatment (as H. muelleriana).


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

Further illustrations

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 132-3 (2005)