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Book Review

Hakeas of Western Australia: A Field and Identification Guide - J A Young

Reviewed by Paul Kennedy

Book cover
  Hakea bucculenta

Jennifer Young is a botanical artist with a great interest in Hakeas. The author has travelled extensively across Western Australia studying and photographing Hakeas and noting soils and environmental conditions.

Some of our members will be familiar with the three booklets produced in the late 1990's by Jennifer Young on Hakeas of Western Australia, Botanical Districts of Roe and Eyre, Avon and Irwin and Darling. These booklets proved to be very popular and the initial print of 1000 copies sold out in just over two years.

The revision of the Hakea genus was completed and published in Flora of Australia, Volume 17B in 1999. This resulted in a number of new species and sub-species from Western Australia being described. Rather than reprint the existing booklets, Jennifer decided to combine all three booklets into one book and include the new species and sub-species.

The book is written as a field and identification guide to the Hakeas of Western Australia. It encompasses and updates the trilogy of the previous field guides into one complete volume with information covering the Northern Botanical Districts.

Each of the 115 Hakea species and sub-species of Western Australia are depicted by a large drawing of a portion of the branch of the plant showing leaf, flower and seed capsule shape as well as a drawing of the seed itself. There is also a location map and a brief text outlining distribution, flowering time, form, leaves, flowers, fruit, habit environment, uses and germination times for seed. There are also good quality photos of the plant in its natural environment and close up of flower arrangement. In most cases the information provided will allow any native plant enthusiast the chance to easily identify the species. However, in the case of the Hakea petiolaris sub-species and the differences between Hakea baxteri and H. brownii the book does not specify what elements to look for to identify them separately.

At the end of the book there is a graphical presentation of flowering times, rainfall, plant heights, soil types and uses which are a valuable aid to anyone wanting to grow Hakeas.

Overall the book is a great improvement on the three original booklets and is highly recommended as a reference book if you are travelling in Western Australia or intending to grow Hakeas from that state in the garden.

Hakeas of Western Australia: A Field and Identification Guide

J A Young
Published by the author, 2006.
RRP $30.00
Softcover, 132 pages, colour illustrations, black and white line drawings

From 'Growing Australian', the newsletter of the Australian Plants Society (Victoria), June 2007. Note: Photo of Hakea bucculenta above is not from the book.

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Australian Plants online - 2007
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants