Plant of the Month – December 2014


(Hakea vittata)

(Photos: E. Cousins; habit; close-up of flowering stem; Cape Jervis)

Another spring flowering shrub, good for sandy or limestone soils. It can look a bit sprawly, but can also grow up to head high. From August to November, spider-like white flowers occur in clusters along the stems, at the base of the leaves. Hakeas can be distinguished from grevilleas, which they are very much like, by their woody seed pods. The seed pods of the striped hakea have two little horns, and lengthwise markings (vittatus means ‘longitudinally striped’ in Latin). Leaves are thin cylinders, no more than 1.5mm wide, and appear alternately on the stems. What look like clusters of tiny leaves on those stems might be ‘witches broom’ galls instead…these are caused when branches are infected by a rust fungus.