ONE TOUGH FLOWER

DRUM - - Infographi­c -

You can find the king protea all the way from the Cedar­berg in the Western Cape to Gra­ham­stown in the East­ern Cape, from sea level to 1 500m above it. Be­cause of the dif­fer­ent con­di­tions across this vast area king proteas’ flow­er­ing time, size and colour can vary.

Its tough, leath­ery leaves pro­tect it dur­ing the dry, hot sum­mers and wet, cold win­ters. It also has a large, long tap­root that reaches deep un­der­ground to ex­tract mois­ture from the soil for the plant.

But that’s not all it can with­stand. Its thick un­der­ground stem con­tains dor­mant buds, which can help the plant sur­vive wild­fires. Even if most of the plant has been burnt away, it will grow back from these un­der­ground buds.

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