Silkyhair Pincushion Bergluisie - Leucospermum vestitum
The Silkyhair Pincushion reaches the status of a Tree in the Breede River Valley between Worcester and Wolseley. This contrasts with its shrub-like habit in other areas of the Fynbos in the Cape Floral Kingdom.
The Silkyhair Pincushion is a member of the Showy Pincushion group, which can be identified by their large, robust flowerheads and hoof-shaped pollen presenters. Showy Pincushions have been bred and hybridized to form most of the Pincushion cultivars available in the Protea cut flower trade, and the Silkyhair Pincushion is a parent in many of these hybrids. Flowering starts in August and continues to January.
Seeds are released in summer and taken underground by ants to their nests. After the ants have eaten the white ant-fruit off the seeds, they cannot move the seeds, and they are thus safe from fire and rodents. After a fire, the seeds germinate and produce new plants. Adult plants are killed by fire. The Silkyhair Pincushion is bird pollinated, attracting the Cape Sugarbird and various sunbird species. It is thus an ideal species for planting by gardeners wishing to attract birds.