Needle bush (Hakea preissii) in the Western Australian rangelands

Page last updated: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 - 12:50pm

Needle bush (Hakea preissii) is one of many plant species found in the Western Australian rangelands.

This page provides a summary of the plant's value for pastoralism. Pastoral lessees and station managers can use this information to assess pasture condition and trend.

Indicator value

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.

Forage value

Needle bush has no forage value.

Habitat

Alkaline soils, sandy hills

General description

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.

Contact information

Matthew Fletcher
+61 (0)8 9166 4019
Kath Ryan
+61 (0)8 9166 4015