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Identifying Pagodas - Mimetes

The genus Mimetes can readily be distinguished from all other Proteaceae by the dense heads of flowers formed by aggregating tubular, axillary, stalkless inflorescences (technically a pseudanthia), each containing 3-22 (35) florets and subtended by a leaf, into a large cylindrical inflorescence (technically a conflorescence). The perianth segments are almost entirely free and symmetrical. The style is hairless and is adorned by a distinctively-shaped pollen presenter in each species. Leaves are 1-3 toothed. The fruit is ovoid to cylindric, usually hairless to minutely hairy, with a prominent elaiosome at both ends joined by a thin ridge down one end.

The 14 Mimetes species are easy to identify and are readily separated into four major groups.:


1. Involucral bracts surrounding pseudanthia (axillary inflorescences) symmetrical, if leaves prominent between pseudanthia then never enfolding them goto 2.

1' Involucral bracts surrounding pseudanthia (axillary inflorescences) asymmetrical so that the lower lip of pseudanthia tube is longer than the upper lip, each pseudanthia is partially enfolded by the leaf above it goto Section CUCULLATUS

2. Perianth fused into a tube at base. Less than 20 florets per inflorescence. goto 3

2' Perianth fused to form a tube, but free at both base and tips. More than 25 florets per inflorescence. goto Section CHRYSANTHUS

3. Leaves between pseudanthia never conspicuous and shorter than the pseudanthia tube, involucral bracts surrounding the pseudanthia bright orange or yellow and solely responsible for the colour display goto Section HIRTUS

3' Leaves between pseudanthia prominent and longer than pseudanthia tube, leaves subtending pseudanthia either silver or brightly coloured goto Section ARGENTEUS

Section CUCULLATUS: The Monk's Cowl Pagodas

The Monk's Cowl Pagodas are characterized by the enlarged subtending leaf clasping the pseudanthium below it, and the asymmetrical pseudanthium tube which is longer below than above.

Multiple stemmed arising from a large subterranean rootstock.

A 2-5 m tall tree with a single trunk and thick corky bark. Leaves oblong to elliptic, margins densely hairy. Pseudanthium 4-7 flowered, subtended and clasped by a reddish-yellow cowl-shaped leaf.

Section CHRYSANTHUS: The Golden Pagoda

The Golden Pagoda is a distinct species, not obviously related to any other Pagoda species. It is readily distinguished by its multiflowered pseudanthia bearing 35-35 flowers. The median perianth tube with free tepals both at the base and tip are diagnostic for the group.

Mimetes chrysanthus GOLDEN PAGODA
Pseudanthium 25-35 flowered. Perianth 24-28 mm long, free at base and tip, with a 6-8 mm median tube, yellow.

Section ARGENTEUS: The Silver Pagodas

The Silver Pagodas have the leaves subtending the pseudanthia much larger and usually more brightly coloured than the involucral bracts. The leaves are distinctly silver in all but one species, the Limestone Pagoda, which has grey leaves.

Leaves not silvery, becoming hairless with age. Pseudanthium 12-22 flowered, subtended by flat green leaf. Involucral bracts conspicuous, yellow. Pollen presenter 4 mm long, ringed at style junction, quadrangular-cylindric at base becoming ovoid acute distally.

Mimetes splendidus SPLENDID PAGODA
Leaves silver haired. Pseudanthium 10-14 flowered, subtended by silvery-pink flushed leaf. Involucral bracts ovate. Pollen presenter 5-7 mm long, ringed at style junction, linear acute.

Leaves silver haired, held at right angles to branches. Conflorescence 100-120 mm diam. Pseudanthium 6-9 flowered, subtended by a deep carmine to pale mauve leaf held perpendicular to the stem. Pollen presenter 7-8 mm long, knee-bent at style base, cylindric with terminal spur.

Mimetes arboreus ARBOREAL PAGODA
Large shrub, much branched. Leaves lanceolate, silver haired. Pseudanthium 8-13 flowered, subtended by an ascending, orange-pink flushed leaf. Pollen presenter 7-8 mm long, knee-bent at base with style, cylindric, ending in a small recurved spur.

Mimetes hottentoticus MATCHSTICK PAGODA
Leaves oval, silvery. Pseudanthium 8-10 flowered, with a flat subtending silver leaf. Involucral bracts lanceolate. Style 65-70 mm long, red. Pollen presenter, 4 mm long grooved at base ending in a black cone.

Mimetes stokoei MACE PAGODA
Leaves ovate, silver. Pseudanthium 8-10 flowered, subtending leaves golden yellow. Involucral bracts oval. Style 50-65 mm long, yellow. Pollen presenter, 4 mm long grooved at base ending in a black cone.

Section HIRTUS: The Tube Pagodas

The Tube Pagodas are distinguished by the involucral bracts surrounding the pseudanthium being brightly coloured, and leaves not having any display function in the conflorescence.

Leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 25-45 mm long. Pseudanthium 9-14 flowered. Involucral bracts yellow with red tips. Style 50-55 mm long, red. Pollen presenter with a prominent ring at the junction, and a linear distal portion.

Mimetes pauciflorus THREE-FLOWERED PAGODA
Leaves oval, 25-40 mm long, 8-20 mm wide. Inflorescence with 40-120 densely aggregated, upward pointing, pseudanthia, with a little ball of leaves (coma) above. Pseudanthia 3-4 flowered. Involucral bracts 10-25 mm long, 5-8 mm wide, 4-5 in number. Pollen presenter 3-4 mm long, linear filiform with a pointed apex and slight ringed thickening a style junction, orange-red.

Mimetes palustris CRYPTIC PAGODA
A low suberect shrub. Leaves lanceolate-elliptic, 15-20 mm long, 5-10 mm wide, tightly clasping stem, densely shaggy haired. Inflorescence 10-45 mm long, 30-50 mm wide, containing 5-12 pseudanthia, no coma. Pseudanthia 3-6 flowered. Style 30-35 mm long. Pollen presenter 2 mm long, with style thickened below ring at junction, linear with a pointed tip, yellow with a red flush.

Mimetes capitulatus CONICAL PAGODA
Low lateral branching stems with tall erect, unbranched flowering stems. Leaves lanceolate to ovate, 20-35 mm long, 8-20 mm wide, densely shaggy haired, tightly clasping stem. Inflorescence 60-100 mm long, 60-80 mm wide, with 10-13 pseudanthia, no coma. Pollen presenter 5-7 mm long, with style thickened below prominent ring at junction, linear with a rounded to conical apex.

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