Backyard Buddies
Hakeas

Photo: JJ Harrison

Hakeas

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There are around 150 species of Hakeas native to Australia and they are an excellent choice for your garden to attract native birds.

Each species has a different type of flower but they are all beautiful and provide a food source for many backyard buddies of fruits, seeds and nectar. They are closely related to Grevilleas and the two are sometimes confused. There are some small differences mainly in the leaf appearance but the easiest way to tell them apart is by the fruits - grevillea fruits are soft and fall off the plant whereas Hakeas have woody unopened fruits that stay on the branches for long periods.

Tree Hakeas are small trees and bushy shrubs with large, smooth woody fruits that cockatoos will feed on.

Pincushion Hakeas have large red globe shaped flowers, and their easy to reach nectar catches the keen attention of wasps, which have short flat tongues.

Finger Hakeas will attract Superb Fairy-wrens. Red Pokers will feed many different kinds of honeyeaters. As a dense ground cover, Hakeas also provide habitat for shy animals. They offer refuge to animals who wish to feed, rest or socialise in privacy.

Bird Beak Hakeas get their name from the shape of the seed pod which appears after the bright red flowers in late winter and early spring. The pods do not open to release the seeds until the environmental conditions are just right, for example after a bushfire. It is very popular with honeyeaters and bees and grows best in a hot dry climate.

The Cauliflower Hakea is a prickly single stemmed shrub with a cloud shaped cluster of pale green or yellow flowers which look, of course, like a cauliflower. Their dense, spiky foliage makes the perfect home for small birds and other small animals that need a place to hide.

Check with your local native nursery or council to see which Hakeas will grow best in your garden. 

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”BYB shows that people can make a positive difference to conservation efforts in Australia. Learn, explore and love your bit of wilderness.“

Michele – National Parks Ranger, NSW

Photo: OEH