To see these beauties is unbelievable, so exotic, to us, visitors, probably not to the people who live there and 'grew up' with them, all just part of life?
The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) is a flowering plant. It is a distinctive Protea, having the largest flower head in the genus. The species is also known as Giant Protea, Honeypot or King Sugar Bush. It is widely distributed in the southwestern and southern parts of South Africa of the fynbos region.
The King Protea is the National Flower of South Africa.
Proteas are apparently one of the dinosaurs of flowers out there, dating back over 300 million years. In fact, they were probably acquainted with actual dinosaurs (they only evolved 230 million years ago). Also known as “sugarbushes”, they resemble an artichoke in bloom.
Protea cynaroides is a woody shrub with thick stems and large dark green, glossy leaves. Most plants are one metre in height when mature, but may vary according to locality and habitat from 0.35 m to 2 metres in height. The "flowers" of Protea cynaroides are actually composite flower heads with a collection of flowers in the centre, surrounded by large colourful bracts. The flowerheads vary in size, from about 120 mm to 300 mm in diameter. Large, vigorous plants produce six to ten flower heads in one season, although some exceptional plants can produce up to forty flower heads on one plant. The colour of the bracts varies from a creamy white to a deep crimson, but the soft pale pink bracts with a silvery sheen are the most prized.