Grey Snakestem Pincushion Gruisslangbossie - Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron canaliculatum
The Grey Snakestem Pincushion creeps along the ground. In this it differs from the other Sandveld Pincushions or Sandveldluisies, which have speciated along the west coast. All the Sandveld Pincushions have leaves covered with a "mat" of dense grey hairs. The closely-related Saldana Pincushion sprawls in the coastal dunes, but has narrow leaves. The Malmesbury Pincushion -only found from Mamre to Paardeberg - and Sandveld Pincushion - which grows from Hopefield north - are erect bushes. All have bright yellow flowers which are "rose-scented" and attract a large variety of Monkey Beetles, bees and flies. The Grey Snakestem Pincushion has an underground stem (bole) from which the creeping stems grow. This allows the plants to survive fire - it merely resprouts from the bole. Flowering lasts from August to January. Seeds are released in summer and collected by ants. The ants take the seed to their nests, thus burying the seeds where they are safe from fire and rodents. Germination only takes place after a fire. The Grey Snakestem Pincushion is very variable. It crosses with the other Sandveld Pincushions and has different leaf shapes depending whether it is growing on sand, granite or shales. Any conservation plan for the region must take into account this variation in plants.