King Protea

King Protea Bud King Protea King Protea Closed Bud

Aptly named because of its massive crown of petals, the Protea Cynaroides is part of an ancient plant family, the Proteaceae, which can be dated back over 140 million years. Protea Cynaroides belongs to the genus Protea, which boasts over 92 species, subspecies and varieties. It’s mainly recognised by its “flowers”, which are actually numerous flower heads with a collection of flower heads in the centre, surrounded by large colourful bracts. The colours of this beautiful flower vary from creamy white to deep crimson, but the soft, pale pink bracts with the silvery sheen are the most sought after.

The amazing variety in plant size, habit, flower size and colour was the reason it was named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape at will. The flower bud of Protea Cynaroides looks remarkably like the globe artichoke vegetable named Cynara Scolymus, which led to botanist Linnaeus to give it the species name cynaroides.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 156 - 157

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