Protea Scolymocephala

Family:

Proteaceae

Genus:

Protea

Species:

scolymocephala – meaning ‘flower head like a thistle’

Common name:

Skollie, Scoly, Thistle Sugarbush

1.5m

July to November

Insects, Seeder

Dried, Fresh

What does the plant look like?

Protea Scolymocephala is a neatly rounded shrub that grows up to 1.5 metres tall. The leaves are long and thin – up to 150 mm long and 15 mm wide.

What are the flowers like?

At first, the bracts fold around the florets to form a perfect ball. Then the flower head opens for pollination. The bracts fold back flat to expose a group of small florets in the centre. The outer rows of florets are slightly hairy but the inner florets have no hairs. The flower colour varies from soft cream with a touch of pink, to soft light green. Plants flower from July to November, but mainly between August and September.

How does it reproduce?

Protea scolymocephala is visited by a variety of insect species (generalist insect-pollination system). Seeds are retained in flower heads and are only released after the plant has been killed by fire.

Where is it found?

It grows on sandy flats close to the coast, from the Olifants River in the west, to the Cape Peninsula and through the Overberg to Hermanus.

How is it used?

It is used in the fresh- and dried-flower industries.

Conservation

[Red List: Vulnerable]

Protea scolymocephala is vulnerable. Threats include invasive alien plants, urban development, agriculture and unsustainable harvesting.