Distinctive leaves. Photo W.R.Barker

Inflorescences and leaves. Photo I. Holliday


Hakea smilacifolia Meisn., in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 567 (1845)

T: in planitie arenosa Quangen, Victoria, [near Wongamine, E of Toodyay, W.A.], 20 Mar. 1840, L.Preiss 535; syn: LD p.p., LE p.p., NY p.p.; In regionibus interioribus Australiae meridionali-occidentalis, [W.A.], Oct. 1840, L.Preiss 536; syn: LD p.p., LE p.p., NY p.p.

Images of the NY type specimen of Preiss 535 and 536 can be seen on the New York Botanical Garden site.


Sprawling shrub, 0.3–1.5 m tall, non-sprouting. Branchlets moderately villous to hirsute, and densely tomentose with pale rust-brown hairs at flowering. Leaves in lower parts elliptic to ovate, in flowering region broadly ovate-acuminate (markedly narrowed in distal half), decurved, folded adaxially almost in half along midrib (sides almost erect), at base almost obscuring stem, 2.2–6 cm long, 1.2–5 cm wide when spread open, entire or almost so (often finely denticulate or crenulate), narrowly acute, grey-green.

Inflorescence axillary with 5 or 6 flowers; pedicels 1.2–2 mm long, glabrous. Perianth white. Pistil 14–15 mm long; gland absent.

Fruit 1 or 2 per axil, obliquely narrowly ovate in lateral view, 1.1–1.3 cm long, 4–6 mm wide. Seed obliquely narrowly ovate, indented at base, 11–15 mm long; wing extending narrowly down both sides of body, blackish brown throughout.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in south-western W.A., on the coastal plain from Perth north to Geraldton, and along the south coast between Ravensthorpe and the Lort R.; grows in heath or mallee-heath on sand plain, in sandy soil over 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 Aug.–Sept.

Derivation of name

From Smilax, a genus of plants usually now treated within their own family Smilacaceae but previously considered to be part of the Liliaceae, and folius, Latin for leaf; a reference to a perceived resemblance of the leaves of this plant to those of a Smilax.



Part of Sect. Conogynoides recognised by Bentham (1870) and characterised by a conical pollen presenter, veined leaves, glabrous perianth and fruits without horns.

Within this section 3 species were assigned to the informal Cucullata group by Barker et al. (1999). This group of Hakea species was combined morphologically because they all have mature leaves which are cupped about the stem in some way, long pistils and down-curved fruits.


Species are H. cucullata, H. conchifolia and H. smilacifolia, all from SW WA. 

Representative specimens

W.A.: 100 km W of Esperance, 32 km W of Lort R. crossing, B.Barnsley 413 (CANB, PERTH); 35 km W of Watheroo, K.Newbey 2292 (PERTH); 27 km SW of Three Springs on road to Eneabba, P.S.Short 2410 & L.Haegi (AD, MEL, PERTH).


Link to FloraBase treatment of this species for WA.

Further illustrations

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 105 (2006).