Flora Detail

Common Name Bot River Protea
Family Proteaceae (Protea Family)
Date Observed 18-08-2023
Category Bushes
Catalogue No. 4436RG
Flowering Time Spring,Autumn,Winter
Colour Pink to Mauve
Locations Observed
Estuary Not Observed
Koppie Not Observed
Nature Reserve Not Observed
Small Holding Many
Village Not Observed
Greater Rooiels Many

Protea compacta

Information

Bot River Protea (Sugarbush)

Protea compacta, also known as the Bot River protea, was not taken seriously by early botanists and plant collectors. The seeds were first collected in 1789 near Bot River by Francis Masson, hence the common name Bot River Protea. It flowered within the next few years at Kew Gardens.

Bot River protea is commonly found between sea level and 100m. These plants usually grow in dense stands in a relatively narrow zone from Kleinmond, Houw Hoek, Hermanus, Elim, Napier, and Bredasdorp to Struisbaai. Populations mostly occur on the foothills of mountains that are close to the sea, coastal forelands and sandy flats near the sea. We are fortunate to have a growing colony and a few individuals on the smallholding road between Rooiels and Pringle Bay.

The flowerheads of the Bot River protea measure between 90-120mm long and approximately 60mm wide. They have pink bracts that are fringed with hairs. After flowering, the seed heads remain on the plant until a veld fire. It is important to refrain from picking the flowers since they provide nectar for insects and birds. The seed heads should remain on the plant until after a veld fire, when they burst open and drop the seeds.

Following the 2017 veld fire, we observed a mat of seeds lying thick on the ground, which were scattered all over the area by the wind. The welcome winter rains that followed resulted in many seedlings. It is a joy to see them now flowering six years later.

The Bot River protea is Near Threatened due to habitat loss.