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Protea cynaroides (L.) L.

King protea

ParentsUnknownGenus is not in the current taxonomy

About plant names...

These imposing flowers, natives of southern Africa, are the national flower of South Africa, and the largest of their kind. They are not found in the wild in North America. The genus Protea, which shows a very wide range of shapes and colors, is named for the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape at will; cynaroides is named for the resemblance of flowerheads to artichokes.

Identification: This woody shrub has thick stems and varies from 1-6½′ (35-200 cm) in height. Leaves are glossy and dark green. The "petals" surrounding each flowerhead are really bracts, while the interior consists of many small flowers. Each flowerhead is 4½-12″ (12-30 cm) in diameter. Flowerheads may be cream-colored, deep crimson, or pink.

Online References:

The South African National Biodiversity Institute's web site, plantzafrica.com


Blue Planet Biomes

The Missouri Botanical Garden

The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens


Protea cynaroides description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Protea cynaroides (king protea)

3/2/2001 · Kula Botanical Garden, Maui, Hawaii

Protea cynaroides (king protea)

3/23/1999 · Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa · By Constance B. Kent

Range: Zones 9-12:

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