Hakea victoria (Royal Hakea)
The first time I saw this plant in the wild was in Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia. They were like sentinels on the hillside, with the light appearing to glow through the leaves. It is actually the coloration in the leaves. Those photos are on 35mm slides. This photo was taken at Pangarinda Arboretum, near Wellington in South Australia.
These are very prickly plants and it is a hazard to collect the seed cones which are at the base of the prickly leaves. The flowers are white and unobtrusive. It is the foliage which is the feature of this plant. Plants can be from 2-5m high and 1.5-3m wide. Here they seem to be only 2-3m high and about 2m wide. Flowers appear between June and September.
The soil where it grows here is more or less neutral whereas in the wild they grow in acid soil. I want to try a couple here with the high pH but I am not sure how successful it will be. So long as I can maintain good foliage cover and and reasonable growth rate I will be happy. Semi arid conditions seem to suit the plant but it is only moderately frost tolerant. A sunny location brings out the best colouration in the leaves.
Because of the prickly nature of the plant it makes a good refuge plant for birds and a good plant for foot traffic control.