Photo  I.Holliday

Photo  G.Watton

Photo  I.Holliday

Photo  W.R.Barker

Photo  J.Young


Hakea preissii Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 557 (1845)

T: in limoso-glareosis sylvae prope oppidum York, W.A., 9 Sept. 1839, L.Preiss 617b; syn: B, G-DC, L, LD, LE p.p., NY. [excluding specimens erroneously labelled Preiss 617b in BR, LE and M (= Grevillea paniculata Meisn. based on Preiss 617a)]

An image of the NY type specimen of Preiss 617b can be seen on the New York Botanical Garden site and of theLeiden specimen on the Nationaal Herbarium Nederland site.


Erect tree to 8 m or compact shrub 2–3 m high; lignotuber unknown. Branchlets moderately to densely appressed-pubescent on new growth, quickly glabrescent, and glaucous in second year. Leaves simple, or rarely divided apically into 2 or 3 segments, 1–6 cm long, 1.5–2.5 mm wide, rigid, initially densely (very quickly sparsely) appressed-pubescent; mucro porrect, 1–2.3 mm long.

Inflorescence axillary with 4–28 flowers; rachis obscure, persistent; pedicels 3.5–7 mm long, appressed-pubescent with white, rarely ferruginous hairs continuing onto perianth; buds curved. Perianth 3.5–4.2 mm long,  yellow, rarely red. Pistil 7–10 mm long; gland 0.7 mm high.

Fruit obliquely ovate or elliptic, dilated apically, 1.9–2 (–2.7) cm long, (0.7–) 0.9–1.1 cm wide, smooth and grey or black with black pusticules, dehiscing fully down both sides; beak absent; horns 1–1.5 mm long; apiculum c. 1 mm long. Seed ovate, c. 17 mm long; wing broadly and partly down one side only, brown or yellow.

Distribution and ecology

Found in drier areas of W.A. from Onslow and the Fortescue R. through to Cape Arid Natl Park. Occurs in sandy or clay soil in open shrublands, sometimes on the edges of salt lakes.

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 Aug.–Oct. (Dec.).

Derivation of name

Named after Ludwig Preiss (1811-1883), who made copious collections in Western Australia from 1838 to 1842.



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. preissii is part of the Strumosa group, a group close to the Sericea and Nodosa groups and held together by the sharing of simple terete leaves, terminal or axillary inflorescences (if the latter these resprouting in subsequent seasons), glabrous pedicel and perianth and woody, smooth or verrucose, fruits with horns. Other species in the group include H. bicornata, H. circumalata, H. commutata, H. cycloptera, H. newbeyana, H. strumosa and H. vittata.


The variation in H. preissii appears to be of a clinal nature, with northern specimens being much more open, the leaves longer and narrower and much less crowded, and the fruit somewhat larger than those from further south. Southern plants have ferruginous hairs on the young growth, compared with white hairs further north, and the leaves tend to absciss more readily, leaving prominent pale scars which are very obvious against the dark bark. To some extent the variation within this species resembles that found in the two subspecies of H. recurva, although in the latter species the variation tends to be more an east-west cline.

Typical H. preissii belongs with the southern form of this species.

The red-flowering form shown in image 5 is not represented in herbarium collections studied by the author.

Representative specimens

W.A.: Pallarup Rocks, SE of Lake King, A.S.George 2261 (PERTH); salt lake just W of Lake Grace, K.Paijmans 3748 (CANB); L. Moore, E edge, 15 km SE of Paynes Find, K.Paijmans 3929 (CANB); 83 km SSE of Carnarvon along North West Coastal Hwy, I.R.Telford 6637 & D.Verdon (CANB, 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.

A further image of the flowers and leaves can be seen on the web at

Further illustrations

J.Young, Hakeas of W. Australia, Botanical District of Avon 20, 21, 84 (1997)

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 164-5 (2005)

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 93 (2006)