A view of Table Mountain from the deck of the MSC Opera

The Protea - South Africa's national flower

The Protea is the national flower of South Africa, and the flagship species of the Cape Floral Kingdom (they are a typical example of fynbos).  Proteas are mostly bird-pollinated.  They are shrubs with broad leaves and bloom flame-red and magenta-pink in the summer.  They have somewhat woody stems and are typically deep-rooted.  Protea flowers do not have separate sepals & petals. Instead, they have what's often called tepals.  Proteas develop little dry fruits containing a single seed.  Some genera (for example, the Leucadendron) have the sexes separated onto separate plants.

Click here to view a photo archive of Proteas.


Proteas in Table Mountain National Park
Protea flower

Proteas create jobs for thousands of farm-labourers, who supply the flowers for the world's cut-flower industry. Proteas get their name from the Greek sea god Proteus, who could change his form at will - quite appropriate, given the many unusual shapes of proteas which are found.