Friday, April 24, 2020
In the Cynaroides Realm
At once spiky and delicate, King protea or cynaroides have evolved to survive in the harsh South African climate, while attracting pollinators at the same time. Obviously, a very compatible comb as these chic blooms are some of the most ancient flowers, evolving more than one hundred million years ago.
King protea are perennial plants. They tolerate fires thanks to their thick underground stem filled with numerous dormant buds which starts to sprout shortly after a fire. Fires also assist with drying the cones and releasing seed, while the wind helps spread the seed and seasonal rain triggers germination.
The artichoke-like appearance of the king’s flower-head led to the name ‘cynaroides’, which means ‘like cynara’… the artichoke. The name does no justice to the beautiful blooms of this protea, which is the largest in the genus. There are over eighty varieties of kings and they're divided into groups according to their leaf type. The leathery leaves vary from large and rounded to small and narrow and their huge flowers can be wide open, almost like a 12” dinner plate or a narrow funnel shape. These flower heads consist of numerous small, tubular-shaped blooms or also called an inflorescence. Their color can range from greenish-white through soft silvery pink to deep red, with each variety having its own flowering time.
A luxurious King protea is the crowning glory of a design or bouquet - they offer an enchanting world filled with color, texture, and sizes to try.