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Genus Hovea Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Faboideae

Description: Subshrubs, shrubs or small trees; stems and branches terete or nearly so. Indumentum of simple hairs of various types present, mostly dense, on branchlets, stipules, peduncles, pedicels, leaf undersurfaces, calyces, bracts and bracteoles. Inner and outer pod surfaces, upper surface of leaves and style glabrous or hairy.

Leaves alternate, simple, flat or arching up from midrib, margins flat to revolute; petiolate; stipules present, often caducous, rarely absent.

Inflorescences sessile or pedunculate, flowers in axillary clusters or racemes, flowering stem indeterminate and growing on of the stem sometimes increasing the internode lengths of the inflorescence; flowers pedicellate, bracteate, bracteolate, bracteoles inserted at or near base of calyx. Calyx of fused sepals forming a campanulate to turbinate tube, 2 upper teeth partially fused and forming upper lip, 3 lower teeth smaller, free and forming lower lip. Standard and wing petals pinkish mauve, mauve or indigo, rarely white; standard limb circular to oblate, emarginate, wings and keel shorter. Stamens monadelphous, rarely diadelphous, sheath split on upper side; anthers alternately long and basifixed and short and versatile. Ovary with 2 ovules, rarely more.

Pods sessile or stipitate, obliquely circular or broad-elliptic in profile, laterally compressed, turgid; seeds plump, rarely flattish, ellipsoidal, usually 4–6 mm long, brown to blackish, sometimes mottled, arillate, aril circular to narrow-oblong, surrounding a mostly elongate hilum.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 38 spp., endemic Aust., all States.

Peduncle lengths given below for each species refers to inflorescences that are not affected by growing on of the flowering axis.

Text by Louisa Murray
Taxon concept: I.R. Thompson (2001) Eastern Australian Hovea (Brongniartieae-Fabaceae). Australian Systematic Botany, Vol 14, pp 1-99.

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with acutely angled secondary veins; indumentum appressed; stipules absent; calyx teeth <1/4 of total calyx length; standard and wing petals deep indigo-blue; pods glabrous, with stipe c. 5 mm long.Hovea longipes
Leaf venation various, rarely secondary veins acutely angled; indumentum appressed or not; stipules present though sometimes caducous; calyx teeth 1/3–2/3 of total calyx length; standard and wing petals pale to dark pinkish mauve or mauve; pods sparsely to densely hairy (in H. linearis valves glabrous), sometimes glabrescent, sessile or nearly so.2
2Few-branched subshrubs, erect, trailing or prostrate; hairs all straight and ± appressed; leaves usually substantially green below, the indumentum sparse to scattered, occasionally moderately dense; pod valves glabrous or sparsely haired and glabrescent.3
Many-branched plants, low and spreading or erect to c. 5 m high; hairs not, or not all, straight and appressed; lower leaf surface fully obscured by indumentum or not; pod valves sparsely to densely hairy.
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4
3Leaves often spreading to pendent, shape various, 0.6 to 7 cm long, 1.5–17 mm wide, lamina with a fine reticulate pattern above, areoles 0.1–0.3 mm diam., mucro often hooked, inflorescences 1–4-flowered; calyx 3.5–5 mm long; pod valves with appressed hairs, glabrescent.Hovea heterophylla
Leaves often sub-erect, mostly linear to narrow-linear, mostly 3–11 cm long, 1.2–3.5 mm wide, rarely wider, lamina with a relatively coarse reticulate pattern above, areoles usually 0.3–1 mm diam., mucro not usually hooked; inflorescences mostly 2-flowered; calyx mostly 5–6.5 mm long; pod valves glabrous.
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Hovea linearis
4Plants low (<0.5 m high), forming clumps several times broader than high, leaves <3 cm long, smooth above; pedicels >2 mm long; flowers deep mauve; pods with a moderately dense brown indumentum (sub-alpine or alpine).Hovea montana
Plants not with all the above features.
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5
5Indumentum of young branchlets, pedicels, calyces, bracteoles etc. spreading villous with a profusion of ± spreading hairs c. 1 mm or more long, the outline of floral parts generally difficult to discern due to these hairs; stipules 2–6 mm long6
Indumentum of young branchlets, pedicels, calyces, bracteoles etc. predominantly of coiled to curled hairs or close or slightly divergent antrorse hairs, or if many hairs spreading, then hairs <1 mm long, the outline of floral parts generally not difficult to discern; stipules <3 mm long.
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12
6Leaves >5 mm wide; at least some inflorescences with peduncles 5–20 mm long and/or inflorescence stems that have grown on bearing flowers inserted >5 mm along the stem; calyx 6–7.5 mm long.Hovea pedunculata
Leaves >2 mm wide; inflorescences ± sessile, or peduncles <4 mm long; calyx 4–6.5 mm long.
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7
7Lamina flat to weakly arched, totally glabrous above; calyx 4–5 mm long, apex of upper teeth mostly acute.8
Lamina strongly arched especially from midrib, or if weakly arched then hairs present on upper midrib; calyx 4.5–6.5 mm long, apex of upper teeth truncate to rounded.
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9
8Leaves narrow-elliptic to very narrow-elliptic, 5–27 mm wide, veins on upper surface fine and not or only slightly raised, green surface often partly visible below with raised veins evident.Hovea acutifolia
Leaves narrow- to very narrow-oblong or very narrowly elliptic-oblong, mostly 4–6 mm wide, veins on upper surface sometimes thickened and slightly to moderately raised, lower surface including veins usually ± completely obscured by indumentum.
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Hovea similis
9Leaf midrib with hairs above and shallowly recessed; inflorescences commonly 3-flowered; bracts and bracteoles 3.5–6 mm long.Hovea speciosa
Leaf midrib glabrous above and moderately to deeply recessed; inflorescences commonly 2-flowered; bracts and bracteoles usually 1.5–3.5 mm long.
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10
10Length/breadth ratio of at least upper leaves >10:1, leaves <4 mm wide, reticulate veins raised and with short projections; pods sparsely to moderately hairy.Hovea ramulosa
Length/breadth ratio of leaves <12:1, leaves smooth or, if not, then >4 mm wide; pod indumentum various.
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11
11Leaves very narrow-oblong to linear, upper surface ± smooth, mucro mostly 0.5–2 mm long; mature pods sparsely hairy.Hovea graniticola
Leaves very narrow-elliptic to very narrow-oblong, mostly with raised veins above, mucro to c. 0.5 mm long; mature pods densely hairy.
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Hovea pannosa
12Mostly low shrubs; leaves mostly 1.5–2.5 cm long, strongly folded to be V-shaped in cross section, margins flat (serpentinite areas of NWS).Hovea cymbiformis
Height various, leaf length various, not folded as above, or if occasional leaves folded as above then leaves much longer, margins flat, recurved or revolute.
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13
13Leaf margins flat to recurved, but if recurved, leaves >4 mm wide and the lamina flat or only weakly arched from the midrib.14
Leaf margins revolute or recurved, but if recurved, then the leaf <4 mm wide and/or the lamina strongly arched up from the midrib.
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23
14Leaves glossy and smooth, usually >5 cm long and tapering gradually to apex, substantially green below with close, curled golden hairs largely confined to veins, veins level with surface or recessed; stipules c. 1 mm long (far NC).Hovea impressinerva
Plants not with all the above features.
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15
15Upper surface of leaves glabrous (including midrib).16
Upper surface of leaves with hairs at least on the midrib (hairs usually confined to midrib).
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19
16Leaves linear (length/breadth ratio mostly >10), glossy and smooth above; pedicels 3.5–6 mm long.Hovea longifolia
Plants not with all the above features.
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17
17Leaves often rough due to projections from veins on upper surface, lower surface green, rarely with a dense, close whitish indumentum, veins not generally raised below; inflorescences sessile and usually 2-flowered (southern species, ST).Hovea asperifolia
Leaves without projections from veins on upper surface, lower surface moderately to completely obscured by an orangish or brown indumentum, hairs close or spreading, veins raised below; usually at least some inflorescences with a short peduncle and/or inflorescence stems that have grown on bearing flowers inserted a few mm or more along axis, 2- or 3-flowered (northern species, NC & NT).
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18
18Leaves narrow-elliptic to very narrow-elliptic, 5–27 mm wide, veins on upper surface fine and not or only slightly raised, green surface often partly visible below with raised veins evident.Hovea acutifolia
Leaves narrow- to very narrow-oblong or very narrowly elliptic-oblong, mostly 4–6 mm wide, veins on upper surface sometimes thickened and slightly to moderately raised, lower surface including veins usually ± completely obscured by indumentum.
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Hovea similis
19At least some inflorescences pedunculate and/or inflorescence stems that have grown on bearing flowers inserted a few mm or more along axis.20
All inflorescences ± sessile.
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22
20Inflorescences racemose, mostly 4–12-flowered, sometimes a proportion of inflorescences fewer- flowered; bracteoles inserted on calyx tube distal to base; bract inserted at or shortly below calyx base; pods with a dense indumentum.Hovea apiculata
Inflorescences with flowers mostly clustered, usually 2- or 3-flowered (rarely to 5-flowered); bracteoles inserted at base of calyx or on pedicel a little below; bract inserted well below calyx; pod indumentum various.
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21
21Stipules 1–3 mm long; pedicels 1–3 mm long; calyx 5–7 mm long, apex of upper teeth rounded.Hovea lanceolata
Stipules 0.5–1 mm long; pedicels 2.5–14 mm long; calyx 3.5–5 mm long, apex of upper teeth acute to slightly rounded.
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Hovea lorata
22Leaves often rough, midrib hairs absent or sparse above, usually substantially green below; standard to 10 mm long; keel and staminal tube <6 mm long.Hovea asperifolia
Leaves smooth, midrib hairs usually dense above, indumentum completely obscuring surface below; standard to 17 mm long; keel and staminal tube 9–15 mm long.
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Hovea purpurea
23Leaves parallel-sided, <4 cm long, mostly 1–3.5 mm wide, veins of upper surface somewhat raised, lower surface completely obscured by a close tan indumentum (sometimes strongly revolute margins reaching to midrib); stipules to 1.2 mm long; bracts and bracteoles hairy, to 2 mm long; pod indumentum moderately dense.Hovea rosmarinifolia
Plants not with all the above features.
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24
24Indumentum of numerous spreading hairs 0.5–1 mm long protruding from an understorey of coiled hairs, leaves smooth, very narrow-oblong to linear with a deeply recessed midrib; stipules >2 mm long; apex of upper teeth of calyx rounded.Hovea graniticola
Plants not with all the above features.
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25
25Leaves linear (length/breadth ratio mostly >10), glossy and smooth above; pedicels 3.5–6 mm long.Hovea longifolia
Plants not with all the above features.
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26
26Leaves often rough due to projections from veins on upper surface, lower surface usually at least partly visible, rarely with a dense, close whitish indumentum, veins not generally raised below; inflorescences sessile and usually 2-flowered (southern species, ST).Hovea asperifolia
Leaves without projections from veins on upper surface, lower surface moderately to completely obscured by an orangish or brown indumentum, hairs close or spreading; veins raised below; usually at least some inflorescences with short peduncles and/or inflorescence stems that have grown on bearing flowers inserted a few mm or more along axis, 2- or 3-flowered (northern species, NC & NT).
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27
27Leaves narrow- to very narrow-elliptic, 5–27 mm wide, veins on upper surface fine and not or only slightly raised, green surface often partly visible below with raised veins evident.Hovea acutifolia
Leaves narrow- to very narrow-oblong or very narrowly elliptic-oblong, mostly 4–6 mm wide, veins on upper surface sometimes thickened and moderately raised, lower surface including veins usually ± completely obscured by indumentum.
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Hovea similis

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