Colin Paterson-Jones - nature photography

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The Protea Family

The protea family of plants (Proteaceae) is an ancient lineage confined essentially to the southern hemisphere.

The ancestors of its species on earth now, were present before the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana into the separate land masses we now know as Africa, Australia, South America, India, Madagascar and Antarctica.

Subsequently, in Africa and Australia, the family evolved an astonishing variety of forms including those that we see today. In Africa, the Cape was the centre of this evolutionary explosion which produced some of the most spectacularly lovely plants of this part of the world.

A stand of Leucadendron microcephalum flowering in winter in the Groenlandberg mountains, Western Cape, South Africa


The carmine colour form of Leucospermum lineare flowering in spring near Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa


A male flowerhead of the Silver Tree, Leucadendron argenteum, in spring on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa


Protea magnifica flowering in early summer in the Franschhoek Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa


The rare Leucadendron floridum, a female plant flowering in spring in the Bokram River, Cape Peninsula, South Africa


The rare Mimetes hottentoticus flowering in late summer on Kogelberg peak, Western Cape, South Africa