Sugarbush was a first in many ways. In 1774, it was cultivated under glass in the Royal Collection at the Kew Gardens where, in 1780, it became the first protea ever to bloom in cultivation away from the Cape. From 1890, it was also the first protea to grow outdoors in Australia, New Zealand and here in California.
Bountiful with sweet nectar, Sugarbush or Suikerbossie (Afrikaans) was South Africa's national flower until 1976. It's also a term of enderament that could be translated as "sweetie". The song Suikerbossie ek wil jou he (Sugarbush, I want you so) was composed on Lion's Head in Cape Town and shows how sweet the Sugarbush must be to inspire such romance. Suikerbossie ek wil jou he is a traditional South African Barn Dance Song and this English version of the song eventually became an international hit.