Leaves, inflorescences and fruits; a cultivated bunch. Leaves can be simple or divided. Photo  I.Holliday

Leaves and inflorescences of buds. Photo  W.R.Barker

Leaves and inflorescence; note the lateral pollen presenter and the lack of hairs on the flowers. Photo  W.R.Barker

Leaves and fruit; note the lack of distinct horns. Photo  I.Holliday


Hakea purpurea Hook., in T.L.Mitchell, J. Exped. Trop. Australia 348 (1848)

T: Warrego R. near Mount Faraday, Qld, 10 Oct. 1846, T.Mitchell 399; syn: BM, CGE, K, NY, TCD.

An image of the NY type specimen of Mitchell can be seen on the New York Botanical Garden site.

Grevillea trisecta F.Muell., First Gen. Report 17 (1853), nom. nud.; G. trisecta F.Muell., Linnaea 26: 358 (1853), nom. nud.


Dense multi-stemmed erect shrub, narrowly spreading, 0.3–2.6 m tall. Branchlets glabrous or appressed-pubescent. Leaves simple- or compound-terete with 2–7 ultimate segments, 1.6–9.5 cm long, 0.8–1.5 mm wide, tomentose, with ferruginous and white hairs, quickly glabrescent; mucro 1–2 mm long.

Inflorescence erect, with 4–10 flowers; rachis simple, 1–2.5 mm long, tomentose; pedicels 8–14 mm long. Perianth 5.5–10 mm long, pink, white at base. Pistil 29–32 mm long; pollen presenter a ±lateral disc.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 2.8–3.5 cm long, 1.6–2.2 cm wide, black-pusticulate; apiculum 3–5 mm long; horns obscure. Seed 15–24 mm long; wing encircling seed body.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in southern Qld and N.S.W. Found in forest, woodland or heathland associated with Eucalyptus, Callitris or Casuarina and sometimes Triodia, in sandy soil or, more rarely, laterite.

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 (June–) Aug.–Oct. and some cultivated material from Canberra in Dec.

Derivation of name

From the Latin, purpureus, meaning 'purple' or 'dull red with a tinge of blue', a reference to the colour of the flowers (which in this case are  pink-red rather than purple)



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.

Within this section 5 species were assigned to the informal Verrucosa group by Barker et al. (1999). This group is not monophyletic but is held together by the shared morphological characteristics associated with bird pollination. All species have large pink or red flowers in which the tepals remain fused, splitting to the base only between the upper pair and they have a long pistil usually with a lateral pollen presenter.

Members of the group are H. bakeriana, H. pendens, H. purpurea, H. rhombales and H. verrucosa. While two of the species are found in SW WA and two are found in eastern Australia, one of them (H. rhombales ) is found in central Australia.


Leaves in this species can be simple- or compound-terete. Usually only one sort of leaf occurs on a bush but there are enough cases where both forms occur not to recognise these differences taxonomically. The type material is the divided leaved form. Material in NY labelled as H. hodgsonii (Hodgson 301, s. loc.) by Meisner in 1867 is the entire leaved form of H. purpurea, but Meisner did not publish this name. As with H. verrucosa the leaves of this species show some tendency to all point in one direction along a branch.


A cultivated specimen from Myall Park near Glenmorgan, Qld, (B.Ballingall 2577) most closely resembles this species but has sterile pollen and reproduces by root suckering. It may be a hybrid as the flowers are somewhat smaller than usual and sparsely sericeous.

Representative specimens

 Qld: 44 km N of Chinchilla in Barakula State Forest on Auburn Rd, M.E.Ballingall 2284 (AD); 18 km by road SE of Downfall Ck on road to Miles, L.A.S.Johnson 7198 & B.G.Briggs (NSW); Portion 17, Parish of Samuel, County of Arrawatta, adjoining Bebo State Forest, L.G.Rutley NSW182234 (NSW); Miles, G.Ward NSW182239 (NSW). N.S.W.: Yetman, Nov. 1975, Pasterfield s.n. (NSW).


Link to PlantNET treatment.

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.


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

Further illustrations

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 172-3 (2005)