Photo   W.R.Barker

Photo  W.R.Barker


Hakea orthorrhyncha F.Muell., Fragm. 6: 214 (1868) var. orthorrhyncha

T: R. Murchison, Western Australia, without date, A.F.Oldfield s.n.; syn: B, K, MEL 108075, MEL 108073, MEL 108074; south-western Western Australia, without date, J.Drummond s.n.; syn: BRI, K, L, MEL 108021, MEL 108017, ?MEL 675307, P.


Much-branched, straggly shrub, 1–3 m tall, lignotuberous. Branchlets and young leaves densely appressed-pubescent. Leaves flat; narrowly linear, 7–18 cm long, 1.3–2.3 mm wide, grooved below, attenuate or cuneate, entire; mucro 0.5–1.5 mm long, erect or bent.

Inflorescence axillary or on old wood with c. 20 flowers; rachis 0.5–2.5 mm long; pedicels 4.5–5.5 mm long, moderately appressed-pubescent, with white or ferruginous hairs. Perianth 3.5–6 mm long, mid- to deep red, black with age, sparsely appressed-pubescent on limb, denser on claw, hairs white throughout except for ferruginous limb apex. Pistil 21–22 mm long, red; pollen presenter 1–1.4 mm long.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 4–5 cm long, 1.5–2.6 cm wide, smooth; apiculum 8–10 mm long. Seed obliquely ovate, 22–27 mm long; wing broadly down one side of seed body only, or broadly down one side and narrowly down other.

Distribution and ecology

Apparently confined to the Kalbarri region, Western Australia.

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–Sept.

Derivation of name

From ortho-, Greek for straight and rhynch-, Greek for beak, a reference to the long straight beak of the fruit of this species. The common name, Bird Beak Hakea is presumably a confusion between ortho- and ornitho-, Greek for bird.

 There are four species epithets ending in  -rhyncha within Hakea and all are spelt -rrhyncha which is correct  Greek usage and the correct spelling for these species. However from Linnaeus on, not all authors have added the additional r when forming such epithets and species epithets will be found in which there is only a single r. Since the original spelling is considered the correct one by the international rules governing botanical nomenclature, both spellings will be found in the literature.


How the infraspecific taxa differ

The two long-named varieties differ only in whether they possess terete (var. filiformis) or or very narrow flattened leaves (var. orthorrhyncha).   


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.

On morphological grounds H. platysperma was grouped with H. orthorrhyncha in Barker et al. (1999) to form the Platysperma group. While sharing most of the characters of the Ceratophylla (flat leaves) and Obliqua (terete leaves) groups, both species have a lateral pollen presenter and terete leaves and so they were treated as a separate group. Both H. orthorrhyncha and H. platysperma  have the large U-shaped gland which is also a feature of the Ceratophylla and Obliqua groups.


Two varieties have been described within this species based on whether the leaves are flat or terete. The varieties have been retained because there is no indication that the two leaf types occur on the same bush or in the same locality. Field studies may show this not to be the case, and should they do so, the varieties should not continue be recognised.

The terete-leaved variety is much more common than the flat-leaved variety.

Representative specimens

Western Australia: Murchison R., C.A.Gardner 13235 (PERTH); 7 km S of Kalbarri, P.G.Wilson 6578 (PERTH).


Link to FloraBase treatment of this species for WA.


Link to the Australian Native Plants Society (Australia) pages on Hakea. This species is covered here with an image, cultivation notes and brief notes about it.

Flora of Australia on-line:



Further illustrations

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 154-5 (2005)

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 84 (2006)