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IDM KwaZulu-Natal - Cloud Sugarbush - Protea nubigena

Protea dracomontana DistributionA solid black dot indicates where the species is found.

Protea nubigena - Cloud Sugarbush is an erect shrub, with numerous stems arising from a rootstock and much-branched stems. The leaves are erect, oblanceolate~lliptic, small, 40-60 mm long, 7-13 mm wide. Flowerheads are globose, 40-50 mm across. Involucral bracts are hairless. Style 35-40 mm long.

PR NUBI is known only from a single site above the Policemans Helmet Ridge, to the Witches, facing Tugela Gorge at about 2300 m. Although it has been atlassed twice, we would appreciate seasonal data.

Extensive searches have been made in the neighbouring slopes, without success. Although John Rourke suggested that Pr nubigena may occur in neighbouring areas, the lack of any discoveries apart from the one known - found in 1964, and described in 1978 - suggests that this is a very rare species. Indeed there is ever speculation that this species may be derived from a single plant, and even, more radical a suggestion, that it might, in fact, comprise a single individual connected underground. Only more studies will tell.

For this species to be atlassed, atlassers need to explore the extremely steep slopes of the Drakensberg. This is not a task for the fainthearted or altiphobes.

Pr nubigena can easily be identified by its much branched stems and very small flowerheads. The leaves are also shorter than any other Grassveld Sugarbush.

It is not illustrated in Pooley.

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