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These ancient flowers have been traced as far back as 300 million years.

Protea bushes bear impressive flowers and the most impressive is the King Protea. Shaped like a huge bowl and with strong, woody stems, it is the national flower of South Africa. The flowers are known for their distinctive shape, and most have pinky red petals.

The flowers are pollinated largely by brids, bats and small marsupial animals. Occuring naturally in the drier parts of the southern hemisphere, the plan has developed hard, tough leaves to prevent loss of moisture and damage. The roots are thin to improve absorption of water and mineral nutrients.

The name protea is derived from Greek legend. Proteus was God of the sea, and son of Poseidon God of the Oceans. Proteus had a gift of prophesy about all things future, past and present. Alas he was lazy, and preferred to languish on an island than prophesize.

Plant group: Eudicots
Order: Protelaes
Family: Proteaceae
Subfamily: Proteoideae
Genus: Protea