Protea, proteas

The King Protea is South Africa’s National Flower and I enjoy them. I only once saw a Protea Farm and was amazed at the way these flowers grew from week to week and then suddenly they would open, revealing the most amazing colour and patterns within the flower.

I believe a dried Protea flower is just as beautiful as when it was living, truthfully I speak only of the giant or king Protea (Protea cynaroides), even though there are a number of other Protea flowers in South Africa.

There is something to be said about flowers that don’t last too. It is as though they feast your eyes for a short season. Whilst on the plant, the Protea welwitchii is very pretty in its own way, however unlike the king Protea that will last for weeks in a vase and then make a beautiful dried arrangement, picking these flowers results in a brown wilted mess!

This is why, taking a Bush Trail can be very special, walking in the Waterberg during early summer allows you to get up close to these Proteas that only bloom for a limited time, we watch and wait for the flowers to appear and then we look, admiring the insects that take in its nectar and pollinate it. This season also allows us to reflect upon our life here on earth, we too are limited with the time we have and these flowers are a reminder to us to make an impact whilst we can

The Protea welwitschii is called the Cluster-head sugarbush or Troshofiesuikerbos and from the Book, Bushveld, Lee Gutteridge, has this to say about the flowers…

The Flower can be very messy, lacking the fine structure of many protea species. It also does not grow very tall. Root infusions are used for treating diarrhea in both humans and young cattle. The species is hybridizing with the Sugarbush protea in certain parts of the Waterberg and Magaliesberg regions.

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