Hakea poses a taxonomic challenge

A recently published article in Taxonomy Australia is worth a read

Each named species on earth is given a unique, two part scientific name. Banksia serrata, Hakea macreana, Acacia floribunda, etc. Modern systematics and taxonomy is built upon our understanding of the evolutionary relationships between species. These relationships are then reflected in the species name, and in the higher taxa to which it is assigned. For example, Banksia serrata and Banksia integrifolia share a common ancestor not shared by Acacia floribunda.

But what happens when new evidence shows that existing naming does not accurately reflect evolutionary relationships? Yes, it happens, and sometimes the solution is big news – and even a little controversial.

The Grevillea-Hakea conundrum has been playing out for a while now. A recent article by Kevin Thiele, and published in Taxonomy Australia, explains this most eloquently.

The article also provides an excellent introduction to the relationship between evolutionary history and modern taxonomy.

Hakea macreana  at Wonboyn, NSW (Image: Kerri-Lee Harris)

Hakea macreana at Wonboyn, NSW (Image: Kerri-Lee Harris)

Whether you are a botanist, a bushwalker, a gardener – or all three – this paper is well worth a read!

Thanks to Jackie Miles for alerting us to this article.