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Proteas of the South Coast


Leaf blades flat; Male heads feather-like; Hairy fruit stored on females in a cup of modified branches Au umbellata Broadleaf Featherbush


Multi-stemmed riverine tree; Leaves in starlike whorls, toothed; Fruit a brown-velvety "Almond" Br stellatifolium Wild Almond


Multi-stemmed resprouter; Flowerheads covered by a cowl-like leaf Mi cucullatus Common MonksCowl-Pagoda


Leaves all divided, ageing to hairless; Heads spherical, with involucres each bearing four florets; Pollen presenters dark red Pa abrotanifolius Bredasdorp Common-Sceptre (Pm)


There are no records of Needlebushes from the region, other than Ha suav from the Protea Atlas Project. The others undoubtably exist - please keep an eye open for them. Leaves divided Ha drupacea Sweet Needlebush


1. Florets curved inwards on a single head, a multi-stemmed resprouter Se acrocarpa Common-rootstock Paw-Spiderhead

1' Florets straight, pin-like, in multiple-heads on a shared stalk; leaves fine; single-stemmed below Se fasciflora Common Pin-Spiderhead (P)


1. Fruit hairy, mottled, tip pointed (Villosa) goto 2

1' Fruit flat with winged edge; cone bracts sealed closed; fruit stored in cones on bush goto 5

1" Fruit a hairless rounded nut, cone bracts keel-shaped; fruit released (Nucifera) Ld tinctum Spicy Sun-Conebush (P)

1"' Fruit wedge-shaped, with a fringe of hairs, cone bracts leaf-like; fruit released (Ventricosa) Ld laxum Bredasdorp Connatebract-Conebush (Dm)

2. A multi-stemmed resprouter goto 3

2' Single-stemmed at base goto 4

3. Leaves linear, up to 23 mm long, 1.7 mm wide, hairless; Male heads stalkless; Fruit shed Ld brunioides brunioides Foetid Sandveld-Conebush

3' Leaves ovate, 14 mm long, 6 mm wide, hairless; Male florets with hairy style; Fruit shed Ld coriaceum Rosette Sandveld-Conebush (Re)

4. Leaves linear-oblanceolate, 7-27 o/ 15-25 o mm long, 1.2-3 o/ 2-3 o mm wide, narrowed evenly to base, hairless; Male heads stalked; Fruit stored in 15-23 mm diam. cones Ld linifolium Line-leaf Sandveld-Conebush

4' Tall plant to 3 m tall; Leaves linear-oblanceolate, up to 39 o/ 57 o mm long, 3 o/ 4 o mm wide, narrowed evenly to base, hairless; Male heads stalked; Fruit stored in 32 mm diam. cones Ld galpinii Hairless Sandveld-Conebush (Se)

5. Leaves with flat blades; Cone bracts curved upwards to seal fruit in cones (Alata) goto 6

5' Leaves needle-like in young plants, later with with flat blades; Cone bracts plate-like, with tips swelling to seal fruit in cones (Compressa) goto 11

6. Single-stemmed below goto 7

6' A multi-stemmed resprouter; Cone bracts hairy Ld salignum Common Sunshine-Conebush

7. Leaves smooth goto 8

7' Leaves rough, up to 18 o/ 25 o mm long, 4-5 mm wide; Small erect shrub Ld modestum Rough-leaf Clay-Conebush (Dm)

8. Leaves hairy - silver, grey or shining goto 9

8' Leaves hairless when mature, green or yellow goto 10

9. Leaves 40 mm long, 7 mm wide, with silvery hairs; Cone bracts rounded; Limestone soils Ld meridianum Limestone Sunshine-Conebush (SDm)

9' Leaves with thin, shining, adpressed hairs, narrow (6 mm wide, up to 65 mm long), somewhat sickle-shaped; Cone bracts bilobed; Sandstone soils Ld xanthoconus Sickle-leaf Sunshine-Conebush (P)

10. Heads exposed; Leaves long, narrow, up to 105 mm long, 8 mm wide, hairless when mature, tipped with a small blunt mucron, uppermost on stem clustered with a reddish base; Cones 20 mm diam.; Cone bracts hairy Ld eucalyptifolium Gum-leaf Sunshine-Conebush

10' Heads hidden by leaves in both sexes; Leaves pale green, up to 85 mm long, 11 mm wide, hairless when mature; Male heads 15 mm diam.; Cones 25 mm diam.; Cone bracts hairy; Flowering March-May Ld cryptocephalum Concealed Sunshine-Conebush (R)

10" Heads hidden by leaves in both sexes; Leaves up to 75 o/ 95 o mm long, 15-17 mm wide, hairless but velvety-haired when young; Male heads 21 mm diam.; Cones 32-36 mm diam., with eight shallow spiral grooves; Cone bracts hairless where exposed; Flowering June Ld laureolum Laurel-leaf Sunshine-Conebush

11. Sexes markedly dimorphic; Leaves needle-like, 8 o/ 22 o mm long, dark green; Male heads numerous, 14 mm long, on a stalk; Female cone 35 mm long, Ld teretifolium Terete Needleleaf-Conebush (R)

11" Leaves (in mature plants) spoon-shaped, succulent; Male heads 40 mm long, on a stalk; Female cone 30-45 mm long, ash-grey Ld muirii Silverball Needleleaf-Conebush (SDm)


1. Single-stemmed below; Involucral receptacle conic acute or conic depressed goto 2

1' Multistemmed resprouter; Basal stems with knob-like warts; Involucral receptacle conic obtuse Ls cuneiforme Wart-stemmed Cylindric-Pincushion

2. Florets straight tubed; petals free, folding back on opening to form four lice around the style; Leaves elliptic with a single (occ. to 3) tooth (Diastelloides) goto 3

2' Florets with a flask-like bulge at base; Leaves wedge-shaped with 3-11 teeth (Tumiditubus) goto 4

3. Stems prostrate; Leaves secund (pointing upwards like the teeth on a comb), hairless when mature, often 3 toothed; Style 18-21 mm long Ls heterophyllum Trident Louse-Pincushion (Dm)

3' Stems erect; Leaves ascending, woolly with curly hairs, single toothed; Style 18-21 mm long Ls calligerum Arid Louse-Pincushion

4. Styles less than 38 mm long goto 5

4' Styles longer than 35 mm long goto 6

5. Leaves 4-10 mm wide; Style 13-22 mm long; Petals shaggy- to downy-haired on middle; Pollen presenter cylindric/club-shaped; Heads 20-30 mm in diam. Ls muirii Albertinia Widetube-Pincushion (Se)

5' Leaves 8-15 mm wide; Style 18-38 mm long; Petals shaggy- to woolly-haired on middle; Pollen-presenter obtuse to club-shaped; Heads 30-40 mm in diam. Ls truncatum Limestone Widetube-Pincushion (SDm)

6. Leaves 10-20 mm wide; Style 35-50 mm long; Petals silky-spreading hairs on middle; Pollen presenter ovoid; Growth habit lax and spreading Ls utriculosum Breede-river Widetube-Pincushion (P)

6' Leaves 15-20 mm broad, 3 (occ. 2-4) toothed; Style 46-53 mm long; Petals downy-haired; Pollen-presenter conic acute Ls fulgens Potberg Widetube-Pincushion (Pe)

6" Leaves 15-30 mm broad, 6-11 toothed; Style 38-48 mm long; Petals shaggy-haired; Pollen-presenter conic acute Ls praecox Mossel-Bay Widetube-Pincushion (Se)


1. Inner involucral bracts spoon-shaped (Ligulatae) goto 2

1' Inner involucral bracts prominently bearded (Speciosae) goto 3

1" Inner involucral bracts not spoon shaped nor bearded goto 4

2. Outer involucral bracts sticky in patches with brown varnish/ boot polish; Leaves with sulphurous odour, edges wavy Pr susannae Stinkleaf Spoonbract-Protea (SDm)

2' Outer involucral bracts dry, edges lines grey-brown; Leaves robust, tapering to base, oblanceolate-elliptic, edges flat Pr obtusifolia Bredasdorp Spoonbract-Protea (SDm)

3. Single-stem at base; Inner involucral bracts variously coloured, with variously coloured beard, outer surface with white silky hairs; Leaves with parallel margins Pr neriifolia Oleander-leaf Bearded-Protea

3' Multi-stemmed resprouter; Inner involucral bracts pink or cream with brown beard, rounded; Leaves obovate Pr speciosa Brown-Beard Protea

4. Leaves rough, borne directly from the ground or on short shoots, rarely on short erect stems from a multi-stemmed rootstock (Subacaulos) goto 5

4' Leaves smooth goto 6

5. Outer involucral bracts with fine white hairs; Style 75-90 mm long; Leaves needle-like, borne at ground level; Hairs on petal ending suddenly below anthers Pr lorea Thongleaf Dwarftufted-Protea

5' Outer involucral bracts with white hairs on outer surface; Style 30-35 mm long; Leaves channelled, borne at ground level Pr piscina Visgat Dwarftufted-Protea

5" Outer involucral bracts with browny-red hairs on outer surface; Style 25-35 mm long; Multi-stemmed resprouter; Leaves with horny denticles born on erect stems Pr denticulata Toothleaf Dwarftufted-Protea (Pe)

6. Leaves stalkless; Plants single-stemmed at base when mature goto 7

6' Leaves with a prominent stalk; Multi-stemmed resprouter Pr cynaroides King Protea

6" Leaves stalkless, green; Multi-stemmed resprouter; Flowerhead bowl-shaped; Involucral bracts shorter than florets, inconspicuous in open flower head; Pr nitida Wagon Tree (dwarf form)

7. Flowerheads at tips of branches goto 8

7' Flowerheads at base of bush; Leaves flattened, edge continuous on stem; Outer involucral bracts brown Pr decurrens Linearleaf Rodent-Protea (R)

8. Flowerhead bowl-shaped; Involucral bracts shorter than florets, inconspicuous in open flower head; Leaves oblong to elliptic, greyish white Pr nitida Wagon Tree

8' Flowerhead chalice-shaped, with much nectar; Stems hairless; Leaves hairless, linear spathulate to oblanceolate; Involucral bracts hairless and covered with sticky varnish; Seed heads resembling inverted ice cream cones Pr repens Common Sugarbush

8" Flowerhead shuttle-cock-shaped; Leaves ovate, heart-shaped at base, velvety haired when young, margins fringed Pr aurea potbergensis Potberg shuttlecock White-Protea (Pe)

8"' Flowerheads untidy as inner involucral bracts splay out on flowering; Seedhead resembling a conebush cone with styles sticking out the tip; Stems hairless; Leaves hairless, lanceolate Pr lanceolata Lanceleaf Sugarbush (SDe)

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