01 December 2009

Hakea pandanicarpa subsp. pandanicarpa

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Hakea pandanicarpa subsp. pandanicarpa

There are two subspecies of Hakea pandanicarpa, with subsp. pandanicarpa occurring from Israelite Bay to Esperance, then to near Albany; the other (subsp. crassifolia), occurs west of Esperance in the vicinity of Ravensthorpe and then further west. The main difference between them is the golf ball sized woody fruits that are very knobbly around Esperance (subsp. pandanicarpa), but subsp. crassifolia has a much 'smoother surface, cracked in a similar manner to drying mud.' (RM Barker, New species, new combinations and other name changes in Hakea (Proteaceae), J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 13. 1990).

Hakea pandanicarpa subsp. pandanicarpa is an interesting looking shrub or small tree to 3-4 metres in height and in passing, appears to be another eucalypt except for the large and very noticeable, knobbly, round to oval, woody fruits that are ornamental in their own right. The leaves are quite long, unarmed and olive green when mature, but the new growth is an attractive rusty/gold color. Not to be outdone, the creamy/white flower clusters bloom together, to create an overall impressive display.

This hakea although seldom found in large colonies, is quite widespread in the shrubby mallee heath, which locally tends to be between the coastal heath and the (limestone substrate) mallee region. Its preference around Esperance being sand over gravel and loose rock, or gravel alone. The mass flowering displays are relatively short lived and must be caught between September and November, but in other areas or habitats, plants will flower at different times, so during this period and coupled with a little searching you should be rewarded.