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A genus of about 100 species of shrubs and small trees, endemic to Australia (including Tasmania, with about nine species). The genus is most numerously represented in western Australia and there the most beautiful species are found, none of them likely to be satisfactory even in the mildest parts.
Hakea is allied to Grevillea, but differs in its axillary inflorescences, woody fruits, and samara-like seeds. Some species make useful hedging plants in Australia, California, etc. Several, notably H. gibbosa Cav., have become noxious weeds in South Africa, usurping the place of the native flora where it has been weakened by fire-damage. Perhaps the most ornamental species of Hakea, and the best-known, is H. laurina R. Br., cultivated on the French and Italian Rivieras. Known in Australia as the sea-urchin or pincushion hakea, it has red flowers with long-exserted yellow styles, arranged in dense clusters. It is in cultivation at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly but does not thrive even there.
For a note on the cultivated species, see the article by A. D. Schilling in The Plantsman, Vol. 6 (3), pp. 136-8 (1984).