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Proteas of the Far North

One of the most poorly covered regions in the Protea Atlas Project in the Cape must be the Sandveld Region. It lacks the mountains which attract the ramblers and mountaineers. It is unbearably hot in summer and foggy in winter. Somehow, the atlas has not yet attracted the day-tripper fraternity: those who go for a drive to while away the weekend. This is the group who would find the Sandveld the most exciting.

Not that the area is without its attractions. Lambert's Bay has its gannets, but Elands Bay, Velddrift, and Papendorp are also suitable stop-overs on the coast and Lutzville, Vredendal, Graafwater Paleisheuwel and Redelingshuis are areas well worth a visit (perhaps "a" should be replaced with "one"). The area contains a network of routes I enjoy taking as an alternative to the N7 after visiting the floral displays up north, always though for the return trip with the sun behind. It is ideal for the leisurely return trip with lots of time to get out and atlas. The number of species which have their northern limits at Heerenlogements-berg (between Clanwilliam and Vredendal, north of Graafwater: a national monument well-frequented by collectors and travellers since 1682) suggests that this area and some atlassing northwards should be well worth the effort.

Nor does one have to stop at Koekenaap or Klawer. Nieuwoudville and its superb flowers can be reached via the Pakhuis-Botterkloof Passes, or alternatively the spectacularly wild Pakhuis-Lokenberg Pass which passes the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve. The latter route is my favourite when the skies are overcast and the flowers refuse to come out. Alternatively, accommodation can be had on the Gifberg or Matsikammas allowing access to the Van Rhynsdorp floral displays.

Nor need one neglect Hondeklipbaai and the various gravel roads which connect it to Koekenaap, Kamieskroon, Springbok and Kleinsee. For little pockets of Fynbos extend northwards into this region and we desperately need to know just how far north Ls praemorsum and Ls rodolentum actually extend.

The area has been divided into 5 regions: Nieuwoudtville (N), Matsikamma-Gif-Nardouwberg-Pakhuis (G), Sandveld (S), Piketberg (P) and peripherals from the Cederberg and Koue Bokkeveld-Groot Winterhoek (E). A "*" is used for species in four or more of these regions.


A resprouter; leaves needle-shaped; male flowerheads branched; fruit hairy, stored in a cupule on female plants. A. pallasia Needle-leaf Featherbush (EP)

Paranomus (Cylindrical heads (> 25 mm long) comprising involucres with flowers in fours; leaves all divided.)

1. Petals, ovary+style 13-15 mm long; pollen-presenter 1 mm long; stalk up to half length of head; stems erect; leaves to 60 mm long. P. bracteolaris Hairless Common-Sceptre (*)

1' Petals, ovary+style +9 mm long; pollen-presenter 0.5-.7 mm long; stalk to head short-absent; lower branches creeping; leaves finely divided to 50 mm long curving inwards. P. lagopus Rabbit-paw Common-Sceptre (E)

Sorocephalus (Heads spherical, untidy, comprising involucres of 4-13 florets.)

1. Leaves needle-shaped with a flattened or caved in upper surface, < 5 mm wide; pollen presenter markedly knobbed; hypogynous glands 3 mm long; hairs on outermost flowers of involucre woolly, innermost flowers hairless. S. capitatus Woolly Flatleaf-Powderpuff (EP)

1' Leaves flat, ovate-lanceolate, 5 mm wide; hypogynous glands absent; glandular hoof-shaped hairs on petals (unique). S. imbricatus Tile-leaf Flatleaf-Powderpuff (P)

Spatalla (Involucres with 3 florets; heads cylindrical; pollen-presenter ovoid; style bent sharply near tip.)

1. Leaves and bracts hairless; heads 10-25 mm long; stems sprawling; petals neat close-pressed hairy, petal tube 4-5 mm long. S. confusa Long-tube Triple-Spoon (G)

1' Leaves and bracts hairy; heads 20-70 mm long; stems straight and erect; petals densely woolly to shaggy-haired. S. caudata Woolly-haired Triple-Spoon (G)


1. Styles > 35 mm long. [Bird pollinated.] goto 2

1' Styles 15-25 (occ. to 35) mm long, flowerheads small. [Insect pollinated?] goto 6

2. Petal tube uniform in diameter. goto 3

2' Petal tube with a bulb-like swelling at the base; creeping habit; leaves 29-52 mm long, 3-4 toothed, ageing to hairless; styles incurved, 45-62 mm long. L. profugum PIKETBERG Widetube-Pincushion (P)

3. Anthers with a short (ca 1-2 mm long) stalk; pollen-p. ovoid; style 50-60 mm long. (Section Brevifilamentum) goto 4

3' Style 50-80 mm long, hinged and moving through 90o when flowering; pollen-presenter narrowly cylindric, tip pointed; anthers stalkless. (Section Cardinistylus) goto 5

4. Pollen-presenters curved sharply giving catherine-wheel look; leaves hairless with wedge-like base, stalked, 90-130 mm long; involucral bracts ovate, tightly clasping stalk and overlapping. L. catherinae Catherine-Wheel Fireworks-Pincushion (SPE)

4' Leaves hairless with wedge-like base and "bitten-off" tip, stalked, 70-80 mm long; involucral bracts narrow, loosely arranged. L. praemorsum Nardouw-fountain Fireworks-Pincushion (SGN)

5. Style straight when mature; petals pink; leaves horizontal; involucral bracts spreading to clasping. L. tottum Elegant Showy-Pincushion (PE)

5' Style curving inwards when mature; petals orange-red; leaves erect; involucral bracts spreading. L. vestitum Silky-haired Showy-Pincushion (PSE)

6. Leaves 3-toothed, crispy-haired forming a dense, grey mat; petals splitting to 3-fused and 1 free, yellow; sweetly scented. (Section Leucospermum) goto 7

6' Leaves with a single (rarely 2-3) tooth, shaggy-haired, 4-8 mm wide; petals cream, tinged red, all four free at tip; habit erect-sprawling to 2 m. L. calligerum Arid Louse-Pincushion (*)

7. Resprouters with multiple stems from an underground rootstock; stems creeping or sprawling. goto 8

7' Erect to prostrate bushes with a single stem at the base. goto 9

8. Stems prostrate; leaves secund, variable in shape from linear-channelled to wedge-shaped-flat; involucral bracts broadly ovate, 5-7 mm wide.L. hypophyllocarpodendron canaliculatum Grey-snakestem Sandveld-Pincushion (S)

8' Erect to semi-erect multiple-stemmed shrub; leaves linear, broadly channelled above; involucral bracts tightly overlapping, densely short-haired on outer surface, 3 mm wide. L. tomentosum Saldanha Sandveld-Pincushion (S)

9. Sprawling shrubs; leaves 7 mm wide; heads large (50-70 mm diam.); styles large - 30-35 mm long, incurved; involucral bracts outcurved. L. arenarium redelinghuis Sandveld-Pincushion (S)

9' Tall erect shrub to 3 m; leaves densely woolly-haired, 7-15 mm wide, flat; styles 15-25 mm long, straight; involucral bracts tightly overlapping, 2-3 mm wide. L. rodolentum Sandveld Pincushion (*)


1. Heads comprised of smaller heads grouped in a raceme. goto 2

1' Head a solitary capitulum, often several per branch. goto 3

2. Heads borne on a long (>70 mm) common stalk or on erect wavy stems; florets straight; leaves stout, 25-35 tipped, hairless; habit multiple-stemmed. S. leipoldtii Louis-Leipoldt's Stalked-Spiderhead (NG)

2' Florets slightly to strongly curved in bud; heads borne on a short common stalk. S. decipiens Sandveld Curly-Spiderhead (*)

2" Florets straight, pin-shaped in bud; heads borne on a short common stalk; leaves silvery silky. S. candicans shiny pin-Spiderhead (P?)

3. Head with a conspicuous stalk; florets curved in bud. (section Acrocarpae.) goto 4

3' Head with a conspicuous stalk; florets straight in bud; a prostrate creeper; leaves secund, trident-like. S. gracilis Graceful involucred-Spiderhead (P?)

3" Head without a stalk; florets straight in bud; leaves short giving bottle-brush appearance, stalk 3-5 mm long, grey crispy-haired. S. millefolia Millileaf Stalkless-Spiderhead (NGS)

4. Plants creeping. goto 5

4' Plants erect. goto 6

5. Rootstock; a dense, creeping mat-like shrub; branches and leaves hairless when mature. S. cygnea Swan Paw-Spiderhead (SGE)

5' Single-stemmed at base; a sprawling shrub; branches and leaves silky-haired when mature. S. effusa Spreading Paw-Spiderhead (SE)

6. Style hairless. goto 7

6' Style hairy. Leaves 35-40 mm long, grey-haired; florets carmine; petal hairs spreading. S. pedunculata Fan-leaf Paw-Spiderhead (PE)

7. Leaves grey, sparsely haired, thin, stalk 15-25 mm long; petal hairs adpressed (neatly lying against petals); peduncle 20-60 mm long. S. fucifolia Northern Paw-Spiderhead (*)

7' Leaves silver, robust, stalk 8-15 mm long; petal hairs spreading; peduncle 5-30 mm long. S. aitonii Marshmallow Paw-Spiderhead (*)

7" Leaves silver, robust, stalk 2-8 mm long; petal hairs spreading; peduncle 50-70 mm long. S. reflexa milky Paw-Spiderhead (EN)


1. Styles 40-130 mm long. goto 2

1' Styles up to 40 mm long. goto 7

2. Involucral bracts with a prominent beard and fringe of hairs. (Bearded Proteas.) goto 3

2' Involucral bracts hairless, perhaps fringed with delicate hairs. goto 5

2" Involucral bracts with dense white-woolly hairs on outer side; leaves with rounded blade and a long rounded stalk; multiple erect stems from a rootstock. P. cynaroides King Protea (PE)

3. Inner involucral bracts oblong, bearded. (Bearded Proteas.) goto 4

3' Inner involucral bracts spoon-shaped; inflorescence oblong, 50-70 mm wide; leaves narrowly oblong, stalkless, hairless when mature; short, spreading. P. burchellii Burchells Spoon-bract-Protea (S)

4. Inflorescence oblong, 40-60 mm wide; leaves elliptic, shortly stalked (2-20 mm long) at base, with grey waxy bloom; tall, erect. P. laurifolia Laurel-leaf Bearded-Protea (*)

4' Inflorescence bowl-shaped, 50-150 mm wide; leaves variable in shape, not stalked, often with grey waxy bloom; prominent cone in centre of head; habit bush-like. P. magnifica Queen Bearded-Protea (SE)

5. Heads bowl-shaped; involucral bracts not prominent from side. (Section Leiocephalae) goto 6

5' Heads chalice-shaped; involucral bracts prominently visible, surrounding florets on sides. Involucral bracts obtuse, hairless, gummy on outside; seed heads inverted ice cream cone-shape, 100-160 mm long. P. repens Common Sugarbush (*)

6. Involucral bracts brown-haired on outside; leaves 40-75 mm long, grey; style 40-70 mm long; fruit released leaving prominent brown receptical (kastaaing). P. glabra Clanwilliam Shavingbrush-Protea (*)

6' Involucral bracts usually hairless; leaves 80-180 mm long, green to grey, red when young; a resprouter from buds beneath the bark. P. nitida Wagon Tree (ShavingBrush-Protea) (*)

6" Involucral bracts brown-haired on outside; leaves 120-180 mm long; style 80-90 mm long; multi-stemmed with dwarf growth habit to 1 m; fruit 6-8 mm diam. P. inopina large-nut Shavingbrush-Protea (S)

7. Plants with underground or creeping stems; leaves not needle-like. goto 8

7' Erect or semi-erect plants; or, if creeping then leaves needle-like (Rose Proteas.) goto 9

8. Leaves smooth; stems various but leaves all upright and at right angles to stem. Stems underground; leaf blades flat, with a narrow stalk and distinct blade. P. acaulos Common Ground-Protea (*)

8' Leaves rough; stem underground; leaves in whorled tufts. P. piscina Visgat Dwarftufted-Protea (SP)

9. Inflorescences small (25-45 mm diameter); plants erect. goto 10

9' Inflorescences medium (40-100 mm diameter); a sprawling bush; heads exposed, pendulous; leaves 1-2 mm wide, dull green; involucral bracts hairless, outermost with needle-like tip. P. witzenbergiana Swan Rose-Protea (E?)

10. Involucral bracts yellow; heads 35-45 mm diameter. P. scolymocephala Thistle Rose-Protea (SP)

10' Involucral bracts red with red-black margin; heads 25-35 mm diam. P. acuminata Black-rim Rose-Protea (GSE)


1. Fruit flat, hairless, stored in cones on plant. (section Alata.) goto 2

1' Fruit a sparsely-haired nut, tip pointed, mottled, dropped when ripe; cones silky long-haired. (section Villosa.) goto 5

1" Fruit a rounded nut, not mottled, not with a pointed tip, hairless or else with a parachute. goto 7

2' Single stemmed erect, to 3 m tall goto 3

2. Resprouter, multiple erect stems; typically shorter than 1 m (rarely to 2 m). goto 4

3. Involucral leaves greenish, 6 mm wide; male buds yellow; male heads 19 mm diam.; male floral bract almost hairless; cone bracts even. L. foedum Hopefield Sunshine-Conebush (S)

3' Involucral leaves ivory-white, 11 mm wide; male buds red; male heads 10-20 mm diam.; male floral bract densely downy-hairy; cone bracts dimpled. L. procerum Ivory Sunshine-Conebush (NG)

3" Involucral leaves yellow, tinted red, 20 mm wide; male buds red; male heads 25 mm diam.; male floral bract hairless. L. discolor Piketberg Sunshine-Conebush (P)

4. Cone bracts densely hairy; leaves grey-green to red; cones often partially concealed; otherwise very variable. L. salignum Common Sunshine Conebush (*)

4' Cone bracts hairless, shiny; leaves green-shiny, often tinged red; cones exposed; otherwise very variable. L. s. spissifolium Common Spear-leaf Sunshine-Conebush (SPE)

5. Resprouter with multiple-erect stems from a rootstock; cones release seeds after 4 months. goto 6

5' Single-stemmed; leaves narrowly spoon-shaped, to 27 o/ 47 o mm long, 5.5 mm wide; male heads stalkless; cones retained. L. cinereum scraggly Sandveld-Conebush (S)

6. Leaves linear, up to 23 mm long, 1.7 mm wide; floral bract oblanceolate, shaggy-haired. L. b. brunioides Foetid Sandveld-Conebush (NSG)

6. Leaves linear up to 23 mm long, 2-4 mm wide; floral bract oblanceolate, shaggy-haired. L. brunioides flumenlupinum Graafwater Sandveld-Conebush (S)

6' Leaves linear-lanceolate, stalkless, overlapping, 8-12 o / 10-17 o mm long, 2-3 mm wide; floral bract lanceolate, short-haired. L. stellare Star Sandveld-Conebush (S)

7. Fruit a large round nut, hairless, dark brown, dropped when ripe. goto 8

7' Fruit large round, hairy, with style persisting with petals to form a parachute, stored in top-like cones. L. rubrum Spinning-top Silver-Conebush

8. Female petals free and separating, tips shaggy-haired. (Section Membranacea.) goto 9

8' Female petals fused into tube along most of middle length, tips downy-haired. (Section Nucifera) B.

9. Single stem at base; leaves hairy to hairless. goto A

9' Resprouter, multiple-stemmed from rootstock; leaves oval to spoon-shaped, thick, hairless; basal bracts to 40 mm long; male heads round. L. arcuatum Red-edge Arid-Conebush (G)

A. Female style > 1 mm long; leaves strap-shaped, rounded at tip, 29 mm long, 6.5 mm wide in male; basal bracts ovate, overlapping, brown, shining; male style hairless with ovary hairy at tip. L. remotum Nieuwoudville Arid-Conebush (N)

A' Female style < 1 mm long; robust shrub; leaves very variable, grey-green, narrowed to base, smaller [to 29 mm long, to 2-7 mm wide] in males (leaves somewhat resembling L. rubrum); basal bracts pointed, hairy. L. pubescens Silky Arid-Conebush (*)

B. Leaves less than 6 mm wide; cone 18 mm diam; Nieuwoudtville escarpment C.

B' Leaves greater than 6 mm wide; cone > 19.5 mm diam. goto D

C. Leaves linear, up to 53 mm long, 2 mm wide, purplish-grey. L. meyerianum VanRhynsdorp Northwestern-Sunconebush (N)

C' Leaves oblanceolate, up to 33 mm long, 6 mm wide, grey-green; basal bracts varnished, red. L. sheilae Lokenberg Northwestern-Sunconebush (N)

D. Basal bracts sack-like, reddish; leaves 44 o / 57 o mm long, 15-17 mm wide; male heads globose; Gifberg endemic. L. roodii gifberg Northwestern-Sunconebush (G)

D' Florets green; leaves with grey wax bloom, very variable, crowded towards head, 38-70 mm long, 12-27 mm wide in both sexes; male heads flattened on top. L. loranthifolium Green-flowered Northwestern-Sunconebush (*)

D" Florets yellow; habit erect; leaves not crowded below head, purplish, 32 o / 39 o mm long, 6-8 o / 7-8 o mm wide, with narrower base; stems hairy. L. glaberrimum erubescens Western Oily Northwestern-Sunconebush (PE)

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