Habit and habitat, Scott River area, SW WA. Photo W.R.Barker

Photo W.R.Barker

Note terminal inflorescence and conical pollen presenter. Photo W.R.Barker

Note horns on young fruits. Photo W.R.Barker

Older fruits; note horns and recurvature of the stalk. Photo W.R.Barker

Toothed leaves and horned fruits. Photo W.R.Barker

H. heterophylla (= H. varia) from Hooker's Icones Plantarum t. 442 (1842).


Hakea varia R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 183 (1810)

T: King George Sound, [Western Australia], Dec. 1801, R.Brown s.n.; syn: AD, BM, ?E, K p.p.

Hakea attenuata R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 183 (1810). T: Bay I, South Coast [Lucky Bay, Western Australia], Jan. 1802, R.Brown Iter Austral. 18; ?holo: BM.

Hakea heterophylla Hook., Icon. Pl. t. 437 (1841). T: Swan R., Western Australia, without date, C.Fraser 40; ?holo: K p.p. (the illustration accompanying the original description is reproduced here).

[Hakea lasiocarpha auct. non R.Br.: C.D.F.Meisner, in J.G.C.Lehmann, Pl. Preiss. 1: 560 (1845) with respect to Preiss 594 seen in NY on a sheet of H. lissocarpha .]


Small tree or shrub, 0.8–4 m tall, lignotuberous. Branchlets and young leaves appressed-sericeous, quickly glabrescent. Leaves rigid, elliptic in cross-section, narrowly linear, -elliptic or -obovate, 1–4 cm long, 2–5 mm wide, narrowly attenuate, entire or dentate with 3–5 teeth or segments per side towards apex; mucro 1–2 mm long.

Inflorescence with 16–36 flowers; involucre 4.5 mm long; internal bracts densely ferruginous apically; rachis 2.5–4 mm long, hirsute; pedicels 2–4 mm long. Perianth 2.5–3.5 mm long, white. Pistil 4–5 mm long; ovary glabrous; gland present.

Fruit obliquely ovate, 1.6–2 cm long, 0.7–1 cm wide, glabrous, coarsely tuberculate or smooth; horns to 3.5 mm long. Seed obliquely elliptic, 11–14 mm long; wing partly down one side of seed body only.

Distribution and ecology

A common species of south-western Western Australia from Arrowsmith L. (near Eneabba) south to Israelite Bay, usually within 100 km of the coast. Occurs in swampy, winter-wet areas, often with Melaleuca or with Viminaria juncea shrubland, or in low shrubland or heath in sand or sandy loam.

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 varius, Latin for different, a reference to the different leaf shapes within this species.



Previously treated as Series Enerves of Sect. Conogynoides of Bentham. Sect. Conogynoides is characterised by a conical pollen presenter, veined leaves, glabrous perianth and fruits lacking horns. Series Enerves members lack an obvious venation in the leaves.


Because of the lack of leaf venation, but also because the fruits have very distinctive horns and the conical pollen presenter is somewhat obliquely placed, this group was removed from Sect. Conogynoides by Barker et al. (1999) and treated as the informal Varia group. Probably close to Bentham's Section Manglesiodes (the Lissocarpha group of Barker et al., 1999) but differing by the curved buds of the Varia group as opposed to the straight buds of the Lissocarpha group.


Members of the group are H. florida, H. horrida, H. ilicifolia, H. lasiocarpha, H. oleifolia, H. tuberculata and H. varia and the more recently described, H. chromatropa . All are from SW WA.


The form with attenuate leaves (sometimes informally known as 'var. attenuata') and based on H. attenuata, has not been recognised here. It appears to be somewhat distinctive in its ecology (it tends to come from low heaths), its fruit shape (symmetrical vs asymmetrical) and to some extent the position of the flowers, i.e. whether axillary or terminal. However, there is too much overlap between the two forms to give it recognition without some field studies.

Representative specimens

Western Australia: 60 km SW of Israelite Bay ruins, B.Barnsley 376 (CANB); 16 km W of Yarloop, R.J.Cranfield 113 (MEL, NSW, PERTH); N of Arrowsmith L., A.S.George 9774 (PERTH); Lower Helena Valley, J.Seabrook 131 (PERTH).


Link to FloraBase treatment of this species for WA for WA.


For further information and images of this species in the Esperance region of Western Australia see William Archer’s Hakea page in Esperance Wildflowers

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 212-3 (2005)

J.A..Young, Hakeas of Western Australia. A Field and Identification Guide 116 (2006).