IDM KwaZulu-Natal - Saddleback Sugarbush - Protea comptonii
A solid black dot indicates where the species is found.
Protea comptonii - Saddleback Sugarbush , Barbetonsuikerbos is a tree, 4-8 m tall, with a rounded and open crown. Trunk up to 500 mm diameter. Bark grey, corky, up to 200 mm thick. Leaves large, oblong, brilliant-green. Involucral bracts cream, hairless. Style 65-80 mm long.
PR CPTN occurs on the Saddleback mountains near Barberton and the ItalaVryheid area in Natal. It has been atlassed around Itala Nature Reserve. This is a rare species for which we require much more seasonal data.
Herbarium records requiring more data: 2730 DD Hills around Vryheid (not shown).
We have received the results of a study which used Geographic Information Systems in an attempt to calculate where Protea comptonii should grow based on data (geology, altitude, aspect, etc.) from where it is found. However, it does not grow at most of the predicted sites. We obviously need more data to understand why this species occurs where it does.
The Mountain Sugarbushes tend to have the largest heads (over 70 mm long). Similarly, their leaves are large - 100-200 mm long and either hairy or hairless. The involucral bracts may be either hairy or hairless, and usually slightly longer than the flowers. The petals are longer than 45 mm. The involucral bracts tend not to close after flowering to protect the developing fruits, thus having no other function than protecting the developing buds. The involucral receptacles rise in the centre to a distinctive point.