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The erect pungent shrub typically grows to a height of 0.2 to 1.8 metres (1 to 6 ft). It blooms from May to November producing distinctive blue purple flowers.
The species was first formally described by the botanist]] George Bentham in 1837 as part of the work Leguminosae. Enumeratio plantarum quas in Novae Hollandiae ora austro-occidentali ad fluvium Cygnorum et in Sinu Regis Georgii collegit Carolus liber baro de Hügel. Four synonyms are known; Hovea pungens var. major, Hovea pungens var. ulicina, Hovea pungens var. pungens and Hovea ulicina.
Found in among granite outcrops and coastal limestone on flats undulating sandplains and flats, the species has a distribution on the south west coast in the Wheatbelt, Peel, South West, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions of Western Australia. It grows in shallow gravelly, sandy, loamy and clay soils over rock.
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