Identifying Needlebushes - Hakea
The genus Hakea has been introduced into South Africa from Australia, primarily as a hedgeplant. Hakea saligna is a very popular hedge plant in many areas of the country, but as yet does not pose a problem in fynbos. Of the 80 Australian species, three are problem in South Africa as they are rapidly spreading and overgrowing huge areas of fynbos vegetation. An indigenous fungus has started stunting their growth. Several weevils have been introduced to keep these weeds under control. In order to ensure that these biocontrol agents continue prevent needlebushes from becoming a pest, sufficient needlebushes will have to be preserved so that a large enough population of weevils can persist. Otherwise, the weevil population will decline, and perhaps even become extinct, and Hakea will again become a pest.
Needlebushes can be recognized by their hard, needle-shaped leaves, the flowers which are not borne in a head, but generally occur axillary as a few flowers, sometimes grouped into catkins. The flowers differ from most African Proteaceae in that each flower bears two seeds. Hard, woody follicles bearing two seeds, protect the seeds from fire.
Hakea is related to the Australian genus Grevillea, known best in southern Africa by Grevillea robusta the SILKY OAK. The major difference between the two genera is that Hakea has its seeds protected in large, hard, woody follicles, while Grevillea does not.
Hakea sericea SILKY NEEDLEBUSH SYERIGE HAKEA
Hakea gibbosa ROCK NEEDLEBUSH HARIGE HAKEA
Hakea drupacea SWEET NEEDLEBUSH SPELDEBOS