Trees

Protea types

Proteas are very showy plants, especially when they are in flower. And it is that they are grouped in such a way that they create a magnificent inflorescence, sometimes really curious. You could almost say that they look like something out of a story, but fortunately they are real, and not very difficult to care for if they are watered from time to time and protected from frost.

Also, there are many types of Protea. Some are larger than others, but all of them have something that makes them unique: the ability to germinate after a forest fire. In fact, in cultivation it is advisable to sow its seeds (in seedbed, yes) in the middle of summer, precisely because they need heat to be able to sprout. Let’s know what species there are.

Protea aristata

Image – Flickr/ Bernard Spragg. NZ

The Protea aristata is an evergreen shrub native to the Swartberg Mountains in Cape Town (South Africa). It reaches a height of 2.5 meters. The leaves are linear, almost similar to those of pines but thicker, glabrous green. The inflorescences are pink, and are about 5-8 centimeters in diameter.

Its life expectancy is 50 years, although growth is slow. Withstands cold and weak frosts down to -2ºC.

Protea caffra

Image – Wikimedia/ Paul venter

The Protea caffra is a kind of evergreen tree that grows in the grasslands of South Africa. It can reach a height of between 3 and 8 meters, and its crown is wide, somewhat rounded, and densely populated with leaves. Its inflorescences are large when open, measuring between 4 and 8 centimeters.

As a curiosity, it is said that it resists frosts down to -5ºC, although we do not recommend exposing it to such low temperatures when young or if it is acclimatized, as it could suffer damage.

Protea cynaroides

The Protea cynaroides, known as king protea or giant protea, is a native evergreen shrub from South Africa. It grows up to 2 meters in height, but it is normal for it to stay below one meter. Its inflorescences are pink and form large heads, up to 15 centimeters in diameter, being the largest of the genus.

Apart from being used as an ornamental plant in tropical gardens, its flowers are highly prized as they live for several days once cut.

Compact protea

The Protea compact is a shrub that grows in South Africa, from near the sea and up to 100 meters above sea level. It reaches a low height, between 2 and 3 meters. Its inflorescences are between 7 and 10 centimeters wide.

In its habitat it ends up forming population groups of thousands of individuals, which is important to know if you want to grow it in the garden if the climate is warm.

Protea laetans

Image – Wikimedia/ SAplants

The Protea Laetans is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa, specifically declared as a nature reserve called Blyde River Canyon place. It can grow up to 5 meters in height, and its inflorescences are about 8 centimeters in diameter.

Protea mundii

The Protea Mundii is a shrub or small tree that grows in South Africa. It reaches a height of 6 to 9 meters, and its inflorescences are white to ivory in color, very attractive to some insects and even birds.

It is grown in climates without frost, both in gardens and in pots.

Protea neriifolia

Image – Flickr/ Derek Keats

The Protea neriifolia is an evergreen shrub from southern South Africa, which grows between 3 and 5 meters high. Its leaves are very similar to those of oleanders (whose scientific name is Nerium oleander ), that is why its last name is neriifolia ( neri which comes from Nerium, and folia which means leaf). The inflorescences can be pink or cream-green.

Protea obtusifolia

Image – Wikimedia/ Stan Shebs

The Protea obtusifolia is an evergreen shrub native of South Africa, particularly in mountainous areas. It can reach a height of between 1 and 5 meters, and it tends to branch a lot, so that its crown eventually becomes a pleasant shade.

Protea repens

Image – Flickr/ 阿 橋 HQ

The Protea repens is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa, which reaches between 0.7 and 4.5 meters high. The inflorescences are not the largest, but they can measure 7-8 centimeters in diameter, and are light yellow in color.

Protea scolymocephala

Image – Wikimedia/ Stan Shebs

The Protea Scolymocephala is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa, where we can see on the coasts mainly. It reaches a height of between 0.5 centimeters and 1.5 meters. The inflorescences are small, about 3-4 centimeters in diameter, and yellow.

It is a threatened species in its habitat, both due to the colonization of it by exotic plants, and due to construction.

Protea venusta

Image – Wikimedia/ michael clarke stuff

The Protea venusta is an evergreen shrub native to South Africa reached between 70 centimeters and 3 meters high. The inflorescences bear some resemblance to those of the king protea, as they are also pink and white, but they are smaller: they measure about 10-12 centimeters in diameter.

As you can see, there are many types of proteas. Some species are better known than others, but certainly all have something that makes them beautiful plants, don’t you think? If you want to know more about them, click here.

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