Hakea 'Burrendong Beauty'

Distribution Map
Family: Proteaceae
Distribution: Not applicable.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name
Derivation of Name: Hakea...after Baron Christian Ludwig von Hake, a patron of botany.
Conservation Status: Not applicable.

General Description:

Hakea "Burrendong Beauty has an interesting history. It was discovered growing at Burrendong Arboretum in the central west of New South Wales in the 1980s, presumably from a batch of seed sent across from Western Australia. As it grew and flowered it was realised that it didn't fit the description of any known species. Subsequent investigation produced a level of excitement as it was thought to be Hakea crassinervia, a species believed, at the time, to be extinct. On more detailed examination, this identification was found to be incorrect and the plant was found to be a hybrid with H.myrtoides and H.petiolaris as parents. As both parent species were growing in the general vicinity of the hybrid plant at the Arboretum, it seems possible that the hybrid arose at Burrendong rather than as a seedling from a batch of seed sent to the Arboretum.

Of further interest is the fact that H.crassinervia has turned out to be a taxonomic synonym of some subspecies of H.petiolaris and is not a valid name. Accordingly, H.crassinervia is not now listed as among Australia's threatened flora.

Hakea 'Burrendong Beauty'
Hakea 'Burrendong Beauty'
Photo: Brian Walters

All of this has left us with an attractive hybrid hakea known as 'Burrendong Beauty' that is now in general cultivation. It is a medium sized, spreading shrub reaching about 1.5 metres high by 2-3 metres wide. The leaves are fairly stiff, about 40 mm long and elliptical in shape. The pink flowers occur in globular-shaped clusters in the leaf axils in winter. Flowering is prolific and as the flowers open the the cream styles emerge to give a 'pincushion' effect. Apparently the hybrid sets little seed.

This is a very spectacular plant that is best suited to areas of low summer humidity and is likely to be difficult to maintain in humid areas where dieback of foliage is common. This significantly detracts from the appearance of the plant. The plant requires well drained soil in an open, sunny position. It is tolerant of at least moderate frosts

Hakea 'Burrendong Beauty' has been grown successfully from cuttings. It is not known whether grafting has been attempted with this plant but, if successful would be a way to grow this very attractive cultivar in a wider range of climates. Many Hakea species have been successfully grafted onto H.salicifolia root stock.

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