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last updated: 22 February, 2008 10:16 AM    

King Protea

King ProteaThe King Protea, (Protea cynaroides), is a flowering plant. Its flower head (what the layman will call the 'flower') is the largest in the genus Protea: the species is also known as Giant Protea, Honeypot or King Sugar Bush. It is widely distributed in the south-western and southern parts of South Africa of the fynbos region.

The artichoke-like appearance of the flower-heads of the king protea lead to the specific name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’ (the artichoke). The name does not do justice to the beautiful flower-heads of this protea, which is the largest in the genus. A number of varieties in colour and leaf shapes are found, but the most beautiful is the pink coloured flower.

It is the flagship of the The Protea Atlas Project, run by the South African National Botanical Institute. This unusual flower has a long vase life in flower arrangements, and makes for an excellent dried flower.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa