16 June 2009

Hakea scoparia subsp. scoparia

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Hakea scoparia subsp. scoparia

There are two subspecies of Hakea scoparia, with this subspecies being the only one in the Esperance region, the other occurring a long way to the east on the edge of the Nullarbor. This subspecies grows into a compact conifer shaped shrub, having long silver/green upright foliage and flowers that in my opinion, are particularly attractive and resemble those of the more famous Pincushion Hakea, Hakea laurina with their brightly colored globular flower clusters. The flowers are around 2.5 cm or 1" diameter and initially emerge as cream, but change to various pink and red shades, to eventually form multicoloured floral clusters along branches.

Hakea scoparia subsp. scoparia occurs to the NW of Esperance and although on the edge of its easterly range is quite widespread, particularly on well-drained gravel/clay soils. The most easterly known occurrence for this shrub is the western side of Lort River, where scattered to the north along Fields Road, from 75 km (46 miles) NW of Esperance.

Plants can grow to 3 metres (10') in height, although here they are little more than half that size. The leaves are not pungently pointed, so safe to handle and the colorful flowers are much sought after by honeyeating birds and probably honey possums too. Flowering occurs from May to September, but can be delayed by dry autumn weather.