Witch's broom galls. Photo W.R.Barker

Flowers and leaves. Photo W.R.Barker

Fruits, just opening. Photo W.R.Barker


Hakea vittata R.Br., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 10: 182 (1810)

T: Bay X, [Port Lincoln, S.A.], Mar. 1802, R.Brown s.n.; syn: BM, E, K.


Prostrate, straggly or dense shrub, 0.1–2 m tall, ?lignotuberous. Branchlets white-pubescent. Leaves simple, 2–8 cm long, 0.8–1.5 mm wide, glabrescent; mucro 1–2.5 mm long.

Inflorescence axillary with 1–8 (–14) flowers; involucre 2–2.5 mm long; rachis 0.5–3 mm long, ferruginous appressed-pubescent with hairs continuing onto pedicel and perianth; pedicels 2.5–4.8 mm long. Perianth 4–6.5 mm long, reddish outside,white inside. Pistil 9.2–11.5 mm long; pollen presenter oblique, 0.7–0.85 mm long; gland semi-annular, 0.2–0.35 mm long laterally.

Fruit ovate to broadly ovate, 1.3–2.4 cm long, 0.9–1.5 cm wide, smooth or rugose, obliquely beaked; horns usually prominent, 0–3.3 mm long; apiculum obscure. Seed obliquely oblong-elliptic, 10–17 mm long; wing encircling seed body, black.

Distribution and ecology

Occurs on Eyre Peninsula in the south and in the Gawler Ranges and in the southern regions of S.A. from Kangaroo Is. and Fleurieu Peninsula to the upper South East. Found in sand, usually in limestone areas in mallee scrub.

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 vittatus, Latin for longitudinally-striped, a reference to the markings on 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.

H. vittata is part of the Strumosa group, a group close to the Sericea and Nodosa groups and held together by the sharing of simple terete leaves, terminal or axillary inflorescences (if the latter these resprouting in subsequent seasons), glabrous pedicel and perianth and woody, smooth or verrucose, fruits with horns. Other species in the group include H. bicornata, H. circumalata, H. commutata, H. cycloptera, H. newbeyana,  H. preissii and H. strumosa.


Hakea vittata is unusual in the genus in two characters: the presence of witches broom galls resembling tight clusters of small leaves on most plants in collections, and the splitting of the fruit past the seed tip only on the side of the red-brown wood zone.

In the Murray region of Vic. and N.S.W. the name H. vittata was wrongly applied to variants of H. tephrosperma (q.v.).

Representative specimens

S.A.: c. 2 km NE of Cape Jervis, 27 Dec. 1942, H.M.Cooper s.n. (AD); c. 45 km SE of Streaky Bay along Flinders Hwy, c. 3.5 km SE of turn-off to Seal Bay, Hj.Eichler 19504 (AD); c. 0.5 km W of Remarkable Rocks on road to Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo Is., L.Haegi 2319 (AD); near Keith, D.Kraehenbuehl 462 (AD).


Link to SA eFlora treatment.