Her Majesty, the Royal Hakea

All the colours of sunset

Bronwen Scott
Tea with Mother Nature

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Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria), Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia. © Bronwen Scott.

It started, as these stories often start, with a dirt track and a distraction. The track ran through heathland of Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia, and the distraction was a plant.

Fitzgerald River NP lies at the western end of the Great Australian Bight, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) SE of Perth. It is a wild and beautiful place, with white limestone beaches, rocky hills, and sandy plains. I was supposed to be bird watching — the park is a good location for Crested Bellbird, Western Whipbird, and Southern Scrub-robin—but temperate Western Australia also is home to an incredible diversity of plants. From peas to Proteaceae, almost all of them are stunning.

One of the most spectacular is the Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria, Proteaceae), a species that I had never thought I would see in the wild. Yet here they were — not at the end of a long walk through dense bush or at the top of a steep rocky mountain, but growing in ridges of sand pushed off the road by a grader.

Royal Hakea (Hakea victoria), Fitzgerald River NP, WA. © Bronwen Scott.

While living in Melbourne, I planted a Silky Hakea (Hakea sericea), a bird- and insect-attracting shrub native to the area. The…

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Bronwen Scott
Tea with Mother Nature

Zoologist, writer, artist, museum fan, enjoying life in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland. She/her. Website: bronwenscott.com