Resprouting after fire. Casterton, Victoria. Photo  W.R.Barker

Leaves and inflorescences. Photo  W.R.Barker

Inflorescences and flowers; note the bud shape, presence of hairs of the flowers and the rusty hairs on the young shoot. Photo  W.R.Barker

Closed fruits on bush; note the recurved apex. Photo  W.R.Barker

Opened fruits after fire. Note the difficult placement of the seed in the fruit for predators.  Photo  W.R.Barker


Hakea rostrata F.Muell. ex Meisn., Linnaea 26: 359 (1854)

T: Lofty Ranges, [S.A.], Feb. 1849, F.Mueller s.n.; syn: NY p.p.; In regionibus sterilibus inter frutices versus Macclesfield, [S.A.], 26 Sept. 1848, F.Mueller s.n.; syn: MEL 674149; In campis inter frutices versus Hawkes' place, [S.A.], 21 Sept. 1848, F.Mueller s.n.; syn: MEL 674148; Lofty & Bugle Range, [S.A.], without date, F.Mueller s.n.; syn: MEL 674152; Scrub of Concorara, Guichen-bay, [S.A.], without date, F.Mueller s.n.; syn: MEL 674151; inter Gawler-town & Lyndock valley [S.A.], Sept., F.Mueller s.n.; syn: MEL 674150; Lofty Ranges, [S.A.], without date, F.Mueller s.n.; isosyn: MEL 1537939; Lofty Ranges [S.A.], without date, Anon. [F.Mueller] s.n.; ?isosyn: MEL 1537940.

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

Hakea rostrata F.Muell., First Gen. Report 17 (1853), nom. nud.

Hakea pampliniana Kippist, in C.D.F.Meisner, Hooker's J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 7: 115 (1855). T: Port Adelaide, without date, Anon., s.n. [?Mrs Grey presented by W.Pamplin A.L.S.]; syn: K; South Australia?, without date, Sir George Grey s.n.; syn: NY (herb. Meisner); South Australia, 1845, Mrs Capt. Grey s.n.; ?isosyn: BM.

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

Hakea lurida Gand., Bull. Soc. Bot. France 66: 229 (1919). T: Grampians, Vic., Oct. 1901, H.B.Williamson s.n.; holo: LY.

[Hakea vittata auct. non R.Br.: G.Bentham, Fl. Austral. 5: 507 (1870), p.p. (only with respect to flowers mentioned by Bentham)]


Spreading or rounded shrub, 1–5(-6) m tall; lignotuberous. Branchlets and young leaves white appressed-pubescent. Leaves terete, 2–15 cm long, 0.8–1.7 mm wide, ascending, not grooved, glaucous.

Inflorescence with 1–10 flowers; involucre 2–3 mm long; rachis knob-like; pedicels 2.5–6.5 mm long, white appressed-pubescent, with hairs extending onto perianth. Flowers bisexual. Perianth 3.5–5.5 mm long. Pistil recurved, 7.8–11.5 mm long; pollen presenter oblique with cone 0.15–0.3 mm high; gland V-shaped, 0.1–0.3 mm high.

Fruit sigmoidal, 2.2–4.5 cm long, 1.8–3.2 cm wide, coarsely wrinkled; beak reflexed, narrow, 7–14 mm long. Seed 13–22 mm long; wing decurrent halfway down one side of seed body only.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in southern S.A., from Fleurieu Penin. to the South-East, including Kangaroo Is., to the Grampians and Wimmera region in Vic.

Found in a variety of soils in sclerophyllous woodland or forest.

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 July–Nov.

Derivation of name

From rostratus, Latin for beaked or curved, a reference to the pronounced recurvature of the beak of the fruit.



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.

The Rostrata group all share the characteristics of pubescent pedicel and perianth, oblique pollen presenter and woody, sigmoid fruits which are retained on the bushes.

Members of the group are H. cyclocarpa, H. epiglottis, H. megadenia , H. rostrata and H. rugosa .


Usually a rounded shrub of 1-2 m in height and width, H. rostrata does occasionally become almost tree-like and up to 6 m high. This has been particularly observed on Kangaroo Island and may have to do with a differing fire regime or soil type.

Previous Tas. records of this species represent part of the variation of the H. epiglottis complex.

Studies in a fire-prone area in the northern Grampians by Enright & Goldblum (1999) compared a lignotuberous or sprouter species (H. rostrata) and a non-lignotuberous or non-sprouting species (H. decurrens ssp. physocarpa).


For H. rostrata the study found that a population of 32 adults produced 839 potentially viable seeds after a fire; from these seeds 14 seedlings were produced within 6 months of the fire and 2 of these were still alive 5 years later. Seedling recruitment was considerably lower than for the non-sprouting species, H. decurrens ssp. physopcarpa. However within 6 months all but one of the original adult plants of H. rostrata had resprouted and all of these resprouts were alive 5 years later. Flowering and fruiting from the resprouts began in the third year and the number of closed fruits on an individual steadily increased with age up to 12 years but did not increase after this. None of these fruits opened in the first 12 years but by the time 28 years had been reached 38% had opened (such opening is usually associated with death of the branch bearing the fruit). There was no seedling recruitment up to 24 years but two bushes which had died back did resprout from the lignotuber i.e. without a fire event.


Reference: Enright, N.J. & Goldblum, D. (1999). Demography of a non-sprouting and resprouting Hakea species (Proteaceae) in fire-prone Eucalyptus woodlands of south-eastern Australia in relation to stand age, drought and disease. Plant Ecology 144: 71–82.

Representative specimens

S.A.: Upper Sturt, c. 15 km SSE of Adelaide, W.R.Barker 92 (AD); 8 km E of Penneshaw, H.M.Lee 94 (MEL); 24 km from Frances towards Naracoorte, M.E.Phillips 372 (AD, CANB). Vic.: Weecurra Forest Reserve, c. 22 km SSW of Casterton, W.R.Barker 5526 (AD); Lawloit Ra., top of hill on Western Hwy, c. 20 km E of Kaniva, R.Melville 1175 (BRI, NSW).


Link to SA eFlora treatment.


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 182-3 (2005)