A flower that grows from a small tree. Yes, the Hakea Laurina sprouts from the branches of a tree, which is planted in specific places so that everyone can go to see them, since they are very exotic, they can even grow as shrubs.

Long leathery leaves are thick and smooth with prominent veining and have a tendency to wave and curl. Fascinating, cherry red, ball-like flowers

Origin of the Laurina Hakea

Hakea laurina (Pin-cushion Hakea) is one of the most admired native plants of south-western Australia, and is grown in quantity in Australia and other countries. In Italy and America its uses include street and hedge planting.

In the Australian National Botanic Gardens it is grown singly as a shrub or small tree reaching 5 m. The best specimens are in open beds of light soil, watered but well drained.

In full sun the species forms an upright shrub with a compact, rounded head, flowering freely and evenly each year on the well-ripened wood. Specimens 20 years old in light shade are rather slender and sparse and in this position they do not flower well or regularly. Others, starved in early years, are smaller and have never flowered. ­čś×

What can be said about Hakea Laurina?

This flower appears from autumn to late of winter, adorned with long, white pin-like stamens, earning its common name of  “Pincushion Hakea” . Native to southern parts of Western Australia, it is a hardy, drought tolerant plant which attracts birds into the garden and can also be useful as a cut flower.

he general impression is of bold and handsome foliage, slightly blue-green, though closer inspection shows that the foliage is blemished at various times of the year with fungus spots.

  • The simple and shapely leaves are widely spaced and wave and curl attractively. 
  • They are up to 15 cm long, thick and smooth, with rows of prominent veins.
  • The species is frost tender in the new tip growth made during autumn and some of this is generally lost each winter, unless sheltered by trees.
  • As a precaution, young plants may be covered nightly during winter till about 1 m high.

When is your Hakea Laurina blossoming?

As early as December tiny new flower buds can be seen, becoming fat and pointed by autumn and covered with ornamental scales, whitened by coverings of fine hairs.

In good years they are packed in tight clusters on ripe wood,. nestling among the leaves yet not hidden. Flowering starts towards the end of April, is at its best in July in a mild winter and ends towards the end of August, although in an extremely cold winter flowers are held back and reduced in size. 

The rounded pin-cushion flower heads are soft cardinal or cherry red, with projecting long styles, white to pale pink on aging.

A faint, pleasant scent can be detected and bees have been seen visiting the flowers.

The bright, sturdy globular flower-heads up to 5 cm across, in the middle of a cold winter, on a shrub easy to obtain and grow, make this a good choice for one of the basic plants in a new garden. There are several other hakeas with globular flower heads, but less easy to obtain.

How to plant a Hakea Laurina?

Seed is occasionally found here and is the means of raising young plants, which may also be obtained from nurseries dealing in native species. 

  • Almost any garden soil is suitable as long as it is lime-free.
  • Light soil is preferred, but should be well drained.
  • It loves full sun and is perfect for strong winds.

Staking is advisable, as plants are weakly rooted and do not hold well in all soils or in exposed positions. At about 1.5 m high a well-grown specimen is heavy and may lean badly.

Root-rot fungus may cause severe die-back of branches, but plants have been known to recover after drying out. Moderate pruning and shaping may be done as required and short stems of flowers may be cut for indoor decoration.

Curiosities of the Hakea Laurina

Pincushion hakea (Hakea laurina) is regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria and South Australia. This species has escaped cultivation in south-eastern Australia and tends to rapidly invade natural habitats adjacent to where it is planted.

It is especially aggressive in coastal situations and regenerates prolifically after burning. Its seeds are also stimulated to germinate by heat, and seedlings can be found in very high numbers after fires.

Infestations of this species eventually smother indigenous vegetation and prevent the regeneration of locally native species.

Is it weed?

Pincushion hakea (Hakea laurina) is a popular garden shrub in south-eastern South Australia. It is also listed as a common environmental weed of the Adelaide region and is also a known environmental weed in the nearby Mount Lofty Ranges.

An infestation was present in Ferguson Conservation Park, in suburban Adelaide, but it is thought to have been eradicated.

Pincushion hakea (Hakea laurina) is also naturalised in the Gippsland Plain Bioregion and present on numerous local environmental weed lists in southern Victoria (e.g. in Knox City, Frankston City, City of Hume, Surf Coast Shire and the Geelong Region).

But none of these criticisms could diminish this wonderful flower, since it has great benefits to show the world.

Summary table

Scientific nameHake laurina R. Br.
SynonymsHakea eucalyptoides Meisn.
Common namesemu bush, pin cushion hakea, pin-cushion hakea, pincushion hakea, pincushion plant
OriginNative to south-western and southern Western Australia (i.e. from Wagin south to Denmark and east to Israelite Bay).
Naturalised DistributionNaturalised in some parts of south-eastern Australia (i.e. in south-eastern South Australia, including on Kangaroo Island, and southern Victoria). Possibly also becoming naturalised outside its native range near Perth in south-western Western Australia.