Leaves and flowers. Photo   I. Holliday.

Inflorescences and leaves. Photo W.R.Barker

Fruits, flowers and leaves. Photo W.R.Barker


Hakea salicifolia (Vent.) B.L.Burtt, Bull. Misc. Inform. 33 (1941) subsp. salicifolia

Embothrium salicifolium Vent., Desc. Pl. Nouv. species 8, t. 8 (1800). T: ex horto D.Cels, 1799, Distr[ibuted] D.Ventenat 1800; syn: P-JU.

Conchium salicifolium C.F.Gaertn., Suppl. Carp. 217, t. 219 (1807). T: in Nova Hollandia prope Port Jackson [N.S.W.]. Ex collectione Banksiana; holo: not located.

Hakea salicifolia Sweet ex Meisn., in A.L.P.P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 416 (1856) pro syn. under H. saligna.

Embothrium salignum Andrews, Bot. Repos. 3: t. 215 (1802); Conchium salignum (Andrews) Sm., in A.Rees, Cycl. 9 (1807) pages unnumbered; Hakea saligna (Andrews) Knight, Cult. Prot. 108 (1809); Banksia saligna (Andrews) J.Parm., Cat. Arbr. Parm. 12 (1818). T: Hammersmith Nursery....first raised from seeds, in the year 1791; holo: not located.

Conchium salignum Donn, Hortus Cantabrig. 2nd edn, 14 (1800), nom. nud.; Hortus Cantabrig. 3rd edn, 21 (1804), nom. nud.


Upright tall shrub or small tree 3–5 m high, ?non-lignotuberous. Branchlets with several prominent longitudinal ribs, ±deep red, lenticellate, glabrous. Leaves narrowly elliptic, 8–15 cm long, 7–17 (–27) mm wide, narrowly attenuate, usually acute or acuminate, more rarely obtuse, blackened apically but scarcely mucronate, moderately appressed-sericeous with white and ferruginous hairs when young, rapidly glabrescent; young leaves darker.

Involucral buds 3 mm long, subglabrous externally. Inflorescence a single umbel of 16–28 white flowers in upper axils (possibly also on older wood in subsp. angustifolia); rachis 1–1.5 mm long; pedicels 4.5–7 mm long. Perianth 2–3.5 mm long, glabrous, glaucous; inner surface of tepals sometimes with dense glandular-verrucose covering above ovary. Pistil 6–6.5 mm long.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 2.3–3.5 cm long, 1.3–2.3 (–3) cm wide in median view, basally attenuate, with raised black pusticules or 1–5 mm high blunt and black-topped warts; beak smooth or with blunt-topped warts; horns often eroded; red-brown wood zone 2.5 mm wide. Seed 17–20 mm long.

Distribution and ecology

Widespread on the coast and ranges of N.S.W. from the Qld/N.S.W. border south to Jervis Bay, extending to Springbrook in the Macpherson Ra. in south-eastern Qld. Occurs in wet sclerophyll forest.

Naturalised in the Melbourne area as early as the 1880s, in the Adelaide Hills, S.A., on Norfolk Is., N.S.W., the North Island of New Zealand and Cape Town, South Africa.

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.–Nov.

Derivation of name

From Salix, the genus for willow and folius, Latin for leaf, a reference to the willow-like leaves of this species.


How the infraspecific taxa differ

Subsp. salicifolia and subsp. angustifolia, as the latter name suggests, differ in the width of the leaves; subsp. salicifolia has leaves 7-27 mm wide while those of subsp. angustifolia are 4-7 mm wide. Subsp. angustifolia is confined to the river systems of the Sydney region while subsp. salicifolia is much more widely spread in wet sclerophyll forest on the eastern coast line of New South Wales.


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. salicifolia was treated as part of the Salicifolia group, an eastern states group characterised by their simple flat leaves, few-flowered inflorescences, glabrous pedicel and perianth and erect fruits, these markedly verrucose or pusticulate and usually with horns.

The only members of this group are H. florulenta and H. salicifolia.

Representative specimens

Qld: Springbrook, Macpherson Ra., C.E.Hubbard 4231 (BRI). S.A. W side of Crafers, run-in onto Freeway, 2 Aug. 1991, N.Lothian (AD). N.S.W.: Lawson, Sept. 19104, A.A.Hamilton s.n. (NSW); Tianjara area, 7 km SSW of Porters Ck Reservoir, K.Paijmans 4049 (CANB).


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.

Link to Maiden’s Forest Flora of New South Wales vol. 5, pl. 171 for an account and image of this species as H. saligna.


As a weed


Background on Needlebushes as weeds in the fynbos vegetation of South Africa.


A fact sheet on Hakea salicifolia as a weed in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand.


A fact sheet for Hakea salicifolia as a weed in Portugal.

Further illustrations

J.H.Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 5: no. 167, pl. 171 (1912);

J.W.Wrigley & M.Fagg, Banksias, Waratahs & Grevilleas 386 (1989).

I. Holliday, Hakeas. A Field and Garden Guide 188-9 (2005)