Hakea corymbosa is a very attractive, medium shrub which may reach 2 metres high by a similar spread. Leaves are linear, up to 80 mm long x 8 mm wide with an extremely rigid and sharp point. Flowers are yellow-green in colour, occurring in the the upper leaf axils and are very prolific. They are generally seen in late winter to spring. These are followed by woody seed pods about 20mm long containing two winged seeds, the usual number for all Hakea species. The pods do not shed the seed until stimulated to do so by environmental conditions (eg after a bushfire).
This species has been in cultivation for many years but is mainly grown by enthusiasts. In a genus renowned for species with sharp foliage, H.corymbosa redefines the term “prickly”. This habit makes it a useful plant where it is desired to restrict access, however, the same habit means that it is unlikely to ever become a popular species with the general public. Despite its natural habitat in an area of very dry summers, the species has been successfully cultivated in humid, temperate areas of the east coast. It is tolerant of at least moderate frosts and the flowers are attractive to honeyeating birds. The species is best grown in an open, sunny position.
Hakea corymbosa is easily grown from seed but collection can be a painful experience. Cuttings may succeed but these may not be particularly easy to strike.
Photo: Brian Walters