Monday, October 25, 2021

Fall Vibes: Protea Repens – Sugarbush

Protea repens, Sugarbush or Suikerbossie. It’s October and these beautiful blooms are starting to make their debut. The word Repens means "creeping" but there is nothing creeping about this protea, the majority of flowers have long stems and some even display multiple blooms. The open, funnel-shaped flowers range in colors from red to white + even two-tones with some that flare open in a very spectacular fashion. Amazingly, the process from a tight bud to an open flower takes six to eight weeks and the seed develops over the next seven months.

Repens could be considered the first protea. In 1774, it was cultivated under glass in the Royal Collection at Kew Gardens where, in 1780, it became the first protea ever to bloom in cultivation away from the Cape. Sugarbush was also considered South Africa's National Flower until 1976 when it was replaced by the Protea King.

The name Sugarbush comes from the abundance of nectar that these alluring flowers produce. In fact, in the 19th century, settlers in South Africa’s Cape Province collected the nectar to use medicinally (called bossiestroop) to cure coughs and chest complaints.

No need for a medicinal remedy? How about a mood booster? Sugarbush provides the perfect pick-me-up and will set the scene for special fall gatherings.

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