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IDM Swaziland - Dwarf Savanna Sugarbush - Protea welwitschii

Protea welwitschii DistributionA solid black dot indicates where the species is found.

Protea welwitschii - Dwarf Savanna Sugarbush has stems with dense, long, white or brown hairs, glaucous when mature. Leaves with dense, white or brown hairs, hairless when mature except at bases. Flowerhead in clusters of 3-4, strong-sickly-sweet, honey-like odour. Involucral bracts sparsely to densely covered with white to brown silky hairs. Perianth 20-50 mm long. Extremely variable, we do not currently recognize any subspecies.

Pr welw has herbarium records from Swaziland, but only two atlas records. These both require confirmation, possibly being bad records, with plants over 1 m tall – suggesting Pr gaguedi as a more plausible identification:

  • 2631 AA: KPB 940514 02- 26o01.0’S 31o06.0’E
    720m {Locality held by SNTC} (Frequent);
  • 2631 AC: NSC 951007 05- 26o21.46’S 31o08.48’E
    1100m High point first ridge beyond Dome 2.3km E Stroma} (Frequent).

The herbarium records should also be checked – The plants are suspiciously described as "a tree" – this is more a feature of gaguedi. These are:

  • 2631AA: Malolotja NR, Bottom of road to Potholes. (Heath 521) .

Potential Problems

Telling Pr parv and Pr welw apart is not that easy! Protea gaguedi has thinner leaves (5-9X longer than broad vs 2-5 for Pr welw), silver hairs on the outer involucral bracts (vs brown) and hairless mature leaves (vs slightly hairy, esp. on midribs).
Do not rely on Pr gagu having fewer flowerheads per branch than Pr welw.

Back Swaziland Interim Distribution Maps