The Pincushion Bobbejaanklou - Leucospermum cordifolium
"The Pincushion" is synonymous with the Protea Cut Flower trade. It is widely grown world-wide. To most people "The Pincushion" is the only one of the 50 Pincushion species that they know. "The Pincushion" is a member of the Showy Pincushion group - some 6 species of large, colourful Pincushions all with great horticultural potential and the source of many of the hybrids and rootstocks available in the industry today. Three of these species (incl. the Needleleaf and Ribbon Pincushions) also occur around Villiersdorp. The Pincushion flowers from September to February. Its orange or yellow flowerheads also attract Sunbirds and Sugarbirds to the garden. Fruit are dropped in summer. Ants collected the seeds and store them in their nests. Seeds only germinate after fires - they "detect" the post-fire environment by the temperature fluctuations caused by the sun baking the bare ground during the day and cooling at night. Some 14 such fluctuations are required for germination. Under mature vegetation the plants "blanket" the soil, preventing such temperature cycles. Cool fires - which leave lots of debris - may also prevent germination. It is the very hot summer fires that proteas prefer.