Trident Pincushion Rankluisie - Leucospermum heterophyllum
Whereas there are many Pincushions with lovely flowerheads near Elim, this species belongs to a group with smaller, inconspicuous flowers. Three species of sprawling Pincushion occur in this group, and all three are largely confined to the Agulhas region. The Trident Pincushion with its cream flowerheads, flowers from July to Febraury. It is not known what pollinates the flowers, but the seeds ripen towards the end of summer. On ripening the ants collect the seeds and bury them in their nests, where they are safe from fire and rodents. The seeds will only germinate after a fire! The plants then produce their new leaves from October to April. Leaves may have from 1-3 glandular teeth, which may attract wasps to stop caterpillars eating the leaves. We know very little about many of our fynbos species. By joining societies such as the Botanical Society, the Protea Atlas Project and the Wildlife Society one can learn a lot about our plants. But a lot more can be learned from watching them. Who knows what secrets still remain to be discovered?