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  ― 159 ―

No. 179: Hakea lorea,


A Western Cork-tree.


Botanical description.

— Genus, Hakea. (See Part XLVI, p. 105)

Botanical description.

— Species, H. lorea, R.Br., Proteaceas Novas, p. 25 (1830).

A tall shrub or tree attaining 20 feet.

Leaves terete, smooth, often above 2 feet long, and rarely under 1 foot, very rarely (on barren branches ? on young plants ?) a few once or even twice forked or trifid.

Racemes cylindrical, in the upper axils, sometimes forked or in a terminal cluster, more dense than in H. Cunninghamii, from under 3 inches to fully 6 inches long, the rhachis, pedicels and perianths densely pubescent with shorter hairs much less appressed than in H. Cunninghamii.

Perianth tube nearly four lines long, slightly dilated below the middle, revolute upwards.

Torus oblique, but less so than in H. Cunninghamii.

Gland large, horseshoe-shaped.

Ovary stipitate; style long, with a very oblique broadly stigmatic disk. (B.Fl. v, 496)

In describing the plants of the Elder Exploring Expedition collected by Mr. R. Helms, Mueller and Tate say:—

Hakea lorea, R. Brown. South Australia:— Arkaringa Valley and near Everard Range.

Western Australia:— Cavenagh and Barrow Ranges. "Cork-bark tree," attaining to 20 feet; bark corky, deeply fluted, three and a half inches at most, half an inch at least in thickness. (Proc. Roy. Soc. S.A., xvi, 362) In describing his Hakea suberea, S. le M. Moore gives it the synonym (H. lorea, Mueller and Tate, non R.Br).

He further says:—

Specimens of the same tree were obtained by Mr. Helms of the Elder Expedition in the Cavenagh and Barrow Ranges. In the report of that Expedition these specimens are referred to Hakea lorea, R.Br., a course I find it impossible to acquiesce in, at the same time feeling doubts as to whether there can he authentic specimens of H. lorea at Melbourne. Two congeners more easily separable it would be scarcely possible to find. The chief differences lie in the shorter and slenderer leaves of H. suberea, its short, stout pedicels not longer than the perianths, the latter organs larger and much broader with a dilated base, the larger anthers, the bigger gland, subsessile ovary, and elongated stout style. Moreover, the distribution of the vascular scars left upon the stem after the fall of the leaves, a point to which Meissner attaches importance, is different in the two, H. suberea being, in this respect, more like H. Cunninghamii, R.Br.

This tree was seen from the Black Gin soak, between Goongarrie and Mt. Margaret, northwards to our farthest point-some high granite rocks fourteen miles north of Lake Darlot. Wherever it occurs, subterranean water is supposed to be somewhere in the vicinity, and experience has so far, I believe, justified the supposition.

My specimen — unfortunately only a single one and not very good — agrees perfectly with that of the Elder Expedition in the Kew Herbarium. (Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot., xxxiv, 224.)

  ― 160 ―
Commenting on these observations, Mr. W. V. Fitzgerald (Journ., Mueller, Bot. Soc. W.A., i, 60) remarks:—

The Eastern Gold fields' form of this species has been recently described as a distinct species, under the name of H. suberea, by Moore. Having examined specimens of the typical H. lorea and compared them with the Gold-fields plant, I failed to observe any combination of characters of sufficient importance to justify the creation of a new species.

There the matter must remain for the present. I have one of Helms' Everard Range specimens, but it is leaf only. I cannot, however, see any difference between it and leaves of the same species from the Eastern States.

I shall be glad if correspondents in Western Australia will collect flowering and fruiting specimens of such "Cork-trees" and "Cork-woods" as have foliage similar or nearly similar to that of Plate 183, and then we shall see whether the foundation of Hakea suberea is justified or not.

Variety fissifolia, F.v.M.

The leaves are sometimes once or twice forked or trifid (as pointed out by Bentham), the prongs of the forks being 1 or 1 1/2 inch or so long. This gives the foliage a very different appearance from that of the type in which the foliage is simple and very long. Mueller (Fragm. vi, 190) suggests the name fissifolia for this form, and draws attention to its resemblance to H. purpurea, Hook., which is certainly apt.

Botanical Name.

— Hakea, already explained (see Part XLVI, p. 106); lorea, Latin, made of leather thongs, in allusion to the thong-like leaves.

Vernacular Name.

— "Cork tree" is a common name, owing, to the fissured, corky appearance of the bark. There are, however, several trees in New South Wales which go by this name, and therefore I have called this particular one "A Western Cork-tree" (ie, in contradistinction to the coastal New South Wales ones).

Aboriginal Name.

— I know of none to be attributed to this with certainty, but it is simply impossible for the aborigines to have avoided knowing the tree and giving it a name.


— Grevillea lorea, R.Br., in Trans. Linn. Soc., x. 177; Prod. 38O.


— I have already drawn attention to the leaves under the variety fissifolia. Mitchell likened them to those of the She-Oaks (Casuarina), but they are not jointed. They have a drooping habit.


— The flowers of all Proteaceæ contain more or less honey, but those of this species contain it abundantly. Writing from the Grey Range, New South Wales, Mr. Baeuerlen reported "Flowers rich in a brown sticky treacle."

  ― 161 ―


— Brown had not seen a fruit at the time of description of the species, nor was it seen by Bentham. Bailey (Queensland Flora, p. 1346) appears to have been the first to describe it, which he does as follows:— "Fruit 1 1/4 inch long, ovate, somewhat flattened, and about inch broad the flat way."


— This interior tree is rather rare, but the timber is much prized for bullock yokes, being very strong and durable.


— It is found in the drier parts of all the mainland States except Victoria.

Following are the localities given in the Flora Australiensis (v, 496):—

N. Australia. — Attack Creek, McDouall Stuart's Expedition.

Queensland. — Shoalwater Bay, R.Brown; Port Denison, Fitzalan; Rockhampton, Thozet; Cape River and Nerkool Creek, Bowman; Dyngie, Miss Ross; also in Leichhardt's collection.

Bentham, however, adds "Several of the above quoted specimens are not in flower, and are therefore in some measure doubtful."

The type locality is "within the tropics" as defined by Brown at p. vii of Preface to his Prodromus, referring to Queensland and Northern Queensland.

Brown gives Shoalwater Bay as one locality for Grevillea (afterwards Hakea) lorea. (Trans. Linn. Soc., x, p. 177). Shoalwater Bay is, of course, near the modern Bowen.


I have a specimen collected by Robert Brown in Northern Queensland. The leaves are about 26 inches long (see Plate).

I am indebted to Mr. F. M. Bailey for specimens from the following localities:— Springsure. This is a little south of Emerald, on the Central Railway (? Collector); Bouldercombe, a few miles south of Rockhampton (G. Smith); Beaufort, near the Belyando and in the Mitchell country, to be referred to presently (C. W. de Burgh Birch).

In the scrubs near this camp [Mount Mudge, 2,247 feet, near the sources of the Belyando, near 24° S. lat., and 147° E. long., a few miles south-east of Ashinhurst, Central Railway, Queensland. — J.H.M.], Mr. Stephenson discovered a very remarkable tree, apparently a Casuarina, having long drooping hair from its upper boughs. (Mitchell's Tropical Australia, p. 241.)

At p. 285 of Mitchell's work is a rough sketch of this tree, with a note that the same tree was found at the camp of 24th August, viz., about 50 miles due west of the modern Emerald. Mueller (Fragm. vi, 190) suggests that the above passages refer to Hakea lorea, and I have no doubt correctly.


Robert Brown (App. Sturt's "Central Australia," ii, 87) says: "A single specimen also occurs of Grevillea (or Hakea) lorea, but without fructification." This probably came from the north-west angle of New South Wales.

Mr. W. Baeuerlen collected it at Olive Downs, Grey Range, which is in the Sturt country.

  ― 162 ―

I have already quoted the South Australian localities cited by Mueller and Tate.

We have it also from "Near the MacDonell Range" (Lieut. Dittrich, quoted by Mueller in "Australasian Journal of Pharmacy," Novr., 1886).


I have already quoted Mueller and Tate for some localities of this State. Mr. Fitzgerald (loc. sit.) states as follows:—

Scattered throughout the eastern interior, chiefly north of Mount Malcolm, extending east to the South Australian border and west to near Shark's Bay, but apparently does not penetrate, the tropics.

Occurring in small clumps, covering considerable tracts of country or lining the banks of dried watercourses. It is common in the vicinity of Mt. Malcolm, Tuckanarra, and other gold-field centres, growing usually in granitic areas, and among many prospectors has the reputation of denoting the proximity of fresh water.

It is also from Ularing, say 50 miles south-west of Menzies (Young), Herb. Melb.


Plate 183: Western Cork Tree. (Hakea lorea, R.Br.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

  • A. Twig showing leaves which are about 26 inches long. (Collected by Robert Brown in north coastal Queensland, and typical for the species.)
  • B. Raceme of flowers. (Bouldercombe, Queensland, G. Smith, Herb. Queensland.)
  • C. Bud.
  • D. Flower.
  • E. Flower — the stigma slips out of the corolla-tube usually without separating the four lobes, which contain the anthers.
    • (a) Corolla.
    • (b) Ovary.
    • (c) Style.
    • (d) Stigma.
  • F. Portion of flower, corolla removed, showing —
    • (a) Hypogynous gland.
    • (b) Stipitate ovary.
    • (c) Style.
    • (d) Stigma.
  • G. Anther.
  • H. Stigmatic disc.
  • I. Fruit from Ularing, W.A. (Herb. Melb.)
  • K. Winged seed.

This is one of the few drawings which has not been prepared from exclusively, or nearly exclusively, New South Wales material. I have not specimens of the typical form from New South Wales, only of the variety fissifolia from this State, and I trust that publication of this plate will lead to records of New South Wales localities for the species.

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