Leaves; note the loss of green coloration with time. Photo W.R.Barker

Leaves, young growth and young fruit. Photo W.R.Barker

Young fruits with spines and horns obvious. Photo W.R.Barker

Fruit coloration amongst older leaves. Photo W.R.Barker


 Hakea spathulata (Benth.) R.M.Barker, J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 13: 107 (1990)

Hakea auriculata var. spathulata Benth., Fl. Austral. 5: 510 (1870). T: Swan R., Western Australia, 1839, J.Drummond 1: 615; syn: B, BM, G, G-DC (microfiche seen), K, MEL, NY p.p., TCD.

Hakea sp. nov. aff. auriculata, in J.W.Wrigley & M.Fagg, Banksias, Waratahs & Grevilleas 411 (1988).

[Hakea attenuata auct. non R.Br.: C.D.F.Meisner, in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 563 (1845); C.D.F.Meisner, in A.L.P.P. de Candolle, Prodr. 14: 406 (1856), both references at least as to Drummond coll. 1: 615 and Preiss 590.]


 Several-stemmed dense shrub, 0.3–1 m tall, lignotuberous. Branchlets glabrous or with erect hairs. Leaves narrowly obovate to obovate, 2–6.5 cm long, 8–16 mm wide, attenuate, rarely auriculate, dentate, with teeth 0.7–7 mm long, glabrous, glaucous or not (lower leaves often brown); mucro 1.5–2 mm long.

Inflorescence usually in lower axils, occasionally within upper axils, with 6–14 flowers; involucre c. 2 mm long; rachis 2–3 mm long; pedicels 3–5.5 mm long, glaucous. Perianth 1.5–4.5 mm long, crimson or purplish with ?yellow limb, glaucous. Pistil 3.5–7.5 mm long.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 1.8–3 cm long, 1.3–2 cm wide, smooth with scattered or dense truncate prickles, glabrous or, more usually, pubescent. Seed 14–23 mm long; wing broadly down one side and narrowly down other, or encircling seed body.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs in sand heaths between Perth and Mt Lesueur in south-western Western Australia.

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–Oct.

Derivation of name

From spathulata, latin for spatula-shaped i.e. the broad apex of the leaf tapering to the base.



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 Prostrata group all share the characteristics of flat leaves with toothed margins, glabrous pedicel and perianth, oblique pollen presenter and non-woody, spiny, obscurely-horned, camouflaged fruits which are not retained for any length of time on the bushes.

Members of the group are H. amplexicaulis, H. auriculata, H. denticulata, H. prostrata, H. pritzelii and H. spathulata, all from SW WA.


The majority of specimens of this taxa have a dense pubescence on the fruits similar to that on branchlets i.e. simple erect hairs. These fruits are often also quite densely covered with spines. On the other hand specimens from Mt Lesueur seem to have fruits which are glabrous, grey and somewhat shiny and more or less smooth; spines are either absent or very sparse. Leaves of these latter specimens are also more likely to be gradually narrowed to tbe base and toothed to the base, whereas the specimens from elsewhere are more likely to be entire in the basal two thirds and even slightly auriculate at the base. Further observations may indicate two taxa.

There is a possibility of floral differences because the pollen presenter colour has been nominated as green in the Mt Lesueur specimens and white in the rest, but this needs further observation.

Further investigation is also needed into the flower size since it seem to be much smaller in the Mt Lesueur collections.

Representative specimens

Western Australia: Moora-Badgingarra, J.S.Beard 1859 (PERTH); source of Hill R., 23 Aug. 1948, C.A.Gardner s.n. (PERTH); 6 km W of Mt Lesueur, 17 June 1977, A.S.George 14600 (PERTH); Watheroo National Park, SW corner, R.D.Royce 9618 (PERTH); near Moore R., 2.5 km from intersection with Brand Hwy on road to Mogumber, A.Strid 20624 (PERTH).


Link to FloraBase treatment of this species for WA.

A photograph of this species can be seen on the Australian National Botanic Gardens site.

Further illustrations

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 106 (2006).