Rocket Pincushion Perdekop - Leucospermum reflexum
An esteemed member of the Fireworks Pincushions, the Rocket Pincushion is by far the most famous. Only its delicate flowers prevent it from being the top seller in the protea export industry. The Rocket Pincushion is a Cederberg endemic, occurring only in the Heuningvlei area from Wuppertal to Sederhoutkop. The yellow form shown here is relatively rare in nature, but is an extremely popular cut flower. It flowers from July to November, in time to release the seeds so that the ants can bury them before the summer fires. Like the other Fireworks Pincushions, the Rocket Pincushion prefers wetter areas. They take 3 years to flower, and start dying after fifteen years, but have their seeds safe in ants nests and ready for the next fire. The Catherinewheel Pincushion Ls catherinae is a closely related species. We would really like to know where this species can be found, as it appears to be far rarer today than when the early botanists travelled through the area.