Overberg Pincushion

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Leucospermum oleifolium is an erect, rounded shrub up to 1 m tall and about 1.5 m in diameter, with a single main stem. The inflorescences are about 4 cm across, in clusters of up to five individual flowerheads at the end of the branches. They open over an extended period of time with the result that one plant provides a colourful spectacle for about four months, from the middle of August to the end of December. The flowerheads open as a pale yellow, which soon turns orange and becomes a brilliant crimson with age.

The natural habitat of Leucospermum oleifolium is in the South-Western Cape, from the Du Toit's Kloof to the Caledon Swartberg. The plants often occur in extensive, dense stands, where they protect one another from prevailing winds. Together with the other fynbos plants a dense cover is established which prevents compaction, keeps the soil cool and reduces the rate of evaporation.

Leucospermum oleifolium is particularly attractive planted in the foreground of a planting with taller Proteaceae like Leucospermum cordifolium, Leucadendron tinctum, or Protea neriifolia in the background. The flowers are excellent as cut flowers in a mixed arrangement.

Adapted from:  Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 170 – 171.

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