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May 14, 2010

The Protea – A Cape Town Tourism Photo Essay

The Proteaceae family is virtually endemic to the Cape Floral Kingdom. This flower family can be found growing and blooming naturally on Table Mountain and other surrounding areas in the Cape. Unique to South Africa, the King Protea is the national flower of South Africa and forms part of the national rugby, cricket and soccer team emblems.

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The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) is the national flower of South Africa and is truly magnificent.

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The Queen Protea (Protea magnifica) is somewhat “softer” and reminiscent of a queen wearing a soft, fur-lined coat.

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The Protea aristata doesn’t have the thick, leathery leaves of most proteas. Instead its leaves resemble pine-needles. They are attached very loosely to the stem and move with the slightest breath of wind.

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The Sugarbush, or suikerbos, Protea (Protea repens) is much loved by sugarbirds and sunbirds for its sweet nectar. Early Cape farmers used to sweeten their coffee with the nectar!

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The Protea family is named after Proteus, a Greek god whose name suggests “firstborn”, or “primordial”. This particular protea, colloquially known as the Blushing Bride (Serruria florida) is often found in a bride’s bouquet and is exported from the Cape all over the world for this purpose.

Do you have images of Cape Town you’d like to share with us? We’d love you to join the Cape Town. Live it. Love it. Flickr group!

Images © Anton LeRoux-Marx 2010

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