Needle bush is an undesirable species that increases aggressively to form thickets when more-palatable companion plants are grazed out. Needle bush is an indicator of poor pasture condition in these circumstances. The aggressive colonisation phase may be postponed if heavy grazing continues, particularly where sheep are the main grazers.
The closely related needle bush (Hakea recurva ssp. arida) is similar in indicator value and appearance and is common in the east and south-east Murchison region.
Needle bush has no forage value.
Alkaline soils, sandy hills
Needle bush is a tall shrub or tree that can grow to about 6m in most soils. The leaves are blue-green and cylindrical, about 2mm across and 10–30mm long. Each leaf has a pungent spine about 1–3mm long at the end. The flowers are a creamy yellow, produced in masses of 20 or more at the junction of leaf with stem. The fruits are woody and swollen and up to 3cm long, and taper to a two-horned blunt tip. As the fruits dry, they split lengthways and release 2 flat seeds that have papery wings.
Hakea recurva ssp. arida is smaller in stature than H. preissii, with a leaf length of about 4cm and a woody fruit that is blunt-ended, without the 2 horns.