Sugar n Spice Hybrid

Sugar n Spice Sugar n Spice Sugar n Spice

The Serruria “Sugar n Spice” flower is a hybrid of the Serruria Florida and Serruria Rosea.

Serruria Florida is known as the blushing bride and is a single stemmed, erect, evergreen shrub, 0.8-1.5 x 0.5 m. Flowering stems branch off the main stem producing fine, dissected leaves and end in terminal flowering buds. It produces 1-8 ivory to pink flowers per branch. It flowers from July to October and produces nut-like seeds which are released about two months later. This species is critically endangered due to too frequent fires and alien vegetation.

Serruria Rosea is one of the showiest spiderheads, producing a spectacular display of up to 20 rose-pink tightly clustered flower heads per stem. Plants growing at Kirstenbosch are producing upwards of 15 flowering stems and this little plant becomes a rounded flowering ball in late winter.

These two flower types together have created this beautiful hybrid, which can be found within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

Mathews, D. 1987. Serruria Forida-Cultivation and Planting Journal of the International Protea Association 13: 42. Australia.

Coast Thistle

Coast Thistle Coast Thistle Coast Thistle

The Berkheya Barbata or Coast Thistle is a beautiful sunflower-like bloom but it’s a nightmare to touch. The leaves are bordered by long, thin thorns whilst the stems and bracts hamper its potential as a cut-flower.

This Thistle is a perennial and can grow up to 60cm in height. Plants produce numerous stems to form a dense and entangled shrub that can be found along and over rocks and other vegetation. The younger leaves are usually covered by a protective cotton-like layer that rub off as the plant matures. The leaves themselves are arranged in pairs, up to 60mm long and 25mm wide, bright green and glossy above with white, dense hairy cover below.

The flower heads can sometimes grow to the size of a hand (around 100mm in diameter) and have an outer ring of bright yellow to orange-yellow petals and a matching centre. At the end of the flower’s lifespan, the spiny bracts that cover the plant create a protective layer for the seeds.

These flowers can be found in harsh, coastal areas as well as in deep sands, rocky outcrops and along cliffs.

Broad-Leafed Featherbush

Featherbush Aulax Umbellata Featherbush Featherbush

The Broad Leafed Featherbush, scientifically known as the Aulax Umbellata of the Protea family, is a slender shrub grows up to 2.5 meters tall, with bright yellow flowers blooming against purplish brown younger foliage from November to February.

The plants of the genus Aulax are dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The flowers of the male plants are bright lemon yellow, arranged in small lax spikes, which open over a period of several weeks. The new leaves of some of the plants are a beautiful purplish brown from early September, slowly fading to green after the end of the flowering period. The leaves of Aulax umbellata are more or less needle shaped, but considerably wider than the other two species, and this is the main distinguishing characteristic for the species.

The inflorescence morphology and systematics of Aulax (Proteaceae) by J.P. Rourke, S. Afr. J. Bot., 1987, 53(6).


Blouaarbossie Plant Blouaarbossie Blouaarbossie Seeds

The Pseudoselago Serrata  is a beautiful erect or sprawling shrublet with stout, angular branches that can grow to a height of 90cm, with crowded, hairless leaves about 12-25mm by 5-10mm in size that overlap like tiles along the stem. The bright mauve flowers with orange-yellow throat patch are found in dense flowering heads of up to 10cm in diameter. When fruiting, the separate heads elongate to resemble thin heads of barley, each producing a singular seed.

These flowers can be seen from October until February and favour cliffs and shrublands.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 270 - 271

Rocket Aloe

Rocket Aloe Plant Rocket Aloe Rocket Aloe Bird

Aloe gracilis is closely related to Aloe striatula, Aloe gracilis has large red flowers, leaf sheaths not as clearly marked as in Aloe striatula. Aloe gracilis can also be easily confused with Aloe ciliaris but one can distinguish the two apart by the fine marginal hair-like fringe that is present on the clasping parts of the leaves on Aloe ciliaris. The specie name 'gracilis' means 'thin and slender' and it refers to the stems.

The stems have numerous shrubby semi-erect stems that branch near the ground and can grow up to 2m in height. The leaves are a dull green colour, narrow and erectly spreading, leaf surfaces are smooth with numerous tiny white teeth that are 1mm in height. The flowers/inflorescences are single to twice branched, up to 3m high, raceme is found on the upper third of inflorescence.

These colourful aloes are easily maintained and require very little maintenance – perfect for a splash of colour or a way to attract some endemic birdlife.

Aloe Gracilis. (2004). Retrieved from

Butterfly Pelargonium

Butterfly Flower Butterfly Papilionaceum Butterfly Papilionaceum

Pelargonium Papilionaceum is part of the Geraniaceae Family (The Geranium Family), which is known for its varying and colourful buds. 

The Pelargonium Papilionaceum is also known as the Butterfly Pelargonium Rambossie, which is an erect, soft and unpleasantly scented shrub that grows to around 2 meters in height. It has a woody main trunk, shaped on upper part and around 10 cm across. The long-stalked flowers, grouped in clusters of 5 – 12 are around 3cm across. It grows in partly shady kloofs and at the edges of forests from Stellenbosch to the Klein River Mountains from around August until January. 

These plants are also very popular in gardens, and can be found in Fernkloof and the Fernkloof Gardens in great numbers.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 210 - 211

Spear-Leaved Cone Bush

Conebush Conebush Conebush

Also known as the common spear-leaved conebush, the Leucadendron Spissifolium flower is a resprouter that can grow up to 1.3m tall, with many hairless stems. The hairless, red-tipped leaves are slightly smaller on the male plants and are all slightly twisted along the axis. The conebush grows on damp sandy slopes from sea level to 1500m above, usually scattered over a large area (due to it being a resprouter). The species has the most extensive distribution in the genus, from the Gifberg to Cape Peninsula, Kogelberg, Elim and the Langeberg.

The male and female plants are also discernable by their difference in colour; with the females having a halo of ivory-coloured pointed involucral leaves.

Adapted from:  Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 164 - 165.

Overberg Pincushion

Overberg Pincushion Bees Overberg Pincushion Groups Oveberg Pincushion Butterfly

Leucospermum oleifolium is an erect, rounded shrub up to 1 m tall and about 1.5 m in diameter, with a single main stem. The inflorescences are about 4 cm across, in clusters of up to five individual flowerheads at the end of the branches. They open over an extended period of time with the result that one plant provides a colourful spectacle for about four months, from the middle of August to the end of December. The flowerheads open as a pale yellow, which soon turns orange and becomes a brilliant crimson with age.

The natural habitat of Leucospermum oleifolium is in the South-Western Cape, from the Du Toit's Kloof to the Caledon Swartberg. The plants often occur in extensive, dense stands, where they protect one another from prevailing winds. Together with the other fynbos plants a dense cover is established which prevents compaction, keeps the soil cool and reduces the rate of evaporation.

Leucospermum oleifolium is particularly attractive planted in the foreground of a planting with taller Proteaceae like Leucospermum cordifolium, Leucadendron tinctum, or Protea neriifolia in the background. The flowers are excellent as cut flowers in a mixed arrangement.

Adapted from:  Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 170 – 171.

Aristea Flower

Aristea Flower Heads Aristea Aristea Tower

The Aristea Juncifolia is from the Iridaceae (Iris) family, which has 50 species in sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, 33 of which occur in the Cape and 17 in this area. Blue (occasionally white), regular flowers, are borne in clusters up a branched or unbranched stem, each flower lasting only one day but several appearing successively over time from enclosing sheaths (spathes), the flower twisting on fading. The majority of these flowers are pollinated by pollen collecting bees, open early and are over by about midday.

A fairly slender plant with 6 – 11 cylindrical, tough, rush like leaves up to 30cm long, stems round in cross-sections and usually unbranched. The stalkless dark blue flowers are borne in few-flowered clusters along the stem and emerge from rusty-brown bracts/spathes prominently keeled above and folded along the midline below. It occurs in sandy mountain soils from Paarl to George between October and January.

If you are able to get into the reserves early enough you will be assured a sighting of these beautiful and colourful plants before they disappear at midday.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 104 - 105

Gold Tip Cone Bush

  Gold Tip Cone Bush  

Leucadendron salignum (Golden Tip) is the most widespread species of the family Proteaceae, occurring in a large part of South Africa and on a wide range of soil types, from sea level to an altitude of 2000 m and is quite variable in leaf size as well as leaf- and bract colour. Leucadendrons are dioecious, i.e. separate male and female plants, which is unusual in the protea family. Its long flowering season (May - Dec), coupled with colourful leaves and bracts surrounding the flowers, make this species an attractive garden plant.

Leucadendron salignum is a multi-stemmed shrub with a persistent rootstock, which enables it to resprout after fire. In its natural conditions it grows to a height of 0.75 to 2 m. The variability of growing conditions, from mild winter temperatures to snow and frost near mountain tops, as well as the variability of leaves and bracts, from greenish-yellow to vivid orange-red, have made this species an excellent candidate for breeding. In addition, this species adapts well to vigorous pruning, which makes it suitable for the production of cut foliage on a large scale.

This beautiful flower colours most of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve in a yellow blanket, giving the mountain a constant glow.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 164 -165

Kogelberg Pagoda

Kogelberg Pagoda kogelberg pagoda flowering Kogelberg Pagoda Heads

The Mimetus Arboreus is a very rare flower; is confined to the Kogelberg Range (including Fernkloof) and is usually encountered as a single plant, although small subpopulations are also known to exist, however they never exceed 100 individuals. The Arboreus prefers a wetter climate, being found mostly in heavily shaded and marshy areas. Its rarity is due to the Subpopulations declining because of frequent fires, to which the species is susceptible as it is a reseeder and takes eight years to reach maturity. The deliberate exclusion of fire for many years may not have had a totally beneficial effect because periodic fires are needed to ensure recruitment.

The Arboreus is recognised by its silvery broad leaves that grow in a circular pattern up the entirety of the plant’s stem, ending in a colourful bloom of roughly 15cm in diameter. The bloom itself is usually a pink-and-green flower, with fronds protruding from the spaces between “layers”.

This stunning flower can be found within the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and is a spectacle to behold, if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon it during your walks/hikes.

Hilton-Taylor, C. et al. 1998. Mimetes arboreus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 06 October 2014.

Sugarbush Protea

Sugarbush Protea Head Sugarbush Protea White Sugarbush

The Protea Nerifolia (also known as the Sugarbush Protea) has a distinct growth pattern, with a 3 meter high “trunk” from which the flower blooms. The lower bracts are papery and eventually curve backwards like wood shavings as they go higher up. The blooms themselves vary in colour from pure white to light pink to deep red, with a distinct white or black fringe (which resembles fur) along the tips of the petals. These colourful petals work as a shield, protecting the inner flowers from the harsh environment.

These flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden and play a large role in the creation of bouquets and arrangements due to their diverse colours and interesting fur-lined petals.

Adapted from:  Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 158 – 159.

Everlasting Flower

Everlasting Buds Everlasting Flower Bunch Everlasting on Mountainside

The Syncharpha Zeyheri is a sturdy shrublet that grows to an average of 20cm in height. It’s most noticeable features are the felt-like leaves that cover most of the stem, becoming smaller near the flower heads/blossoms. You can usually find several blossoms grouped together on stems, with each head being a small scattered rosy bract, which become larger and more crowded as they grow. These flowers occur from the Cape Peninsula to #Hermanus on grassy and rocky flats and slopes between August and October.

The flower is known as an everlasting due to its ability to survive without nutrients for several weeks before wilting. This is because of the lack of water absorbing petals and leaves, all of which have adapted to a harsher, drier climate. Therefore they are a popular choice for flower bouquets and displays.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 290 - 291.

King Protea

King Protea Bud King Protea King Protea Closed Bud

Aptly named because of its massive crown of petals, the Protea Cynaroides is part of an ancient plant family, the Proteaceae, which can be dated back over 140 million years. Protea Cynaroides belongs to the genus Protea, which boasts over 92 species, subspecies and varieties. It’s mainly recognised by its “flowers”, which are actually numerous flower heads with a collection of flower heads in the centre, surrounded by large colourful bracts. The colours of this beautiful flower vary from creamy white to deep crimson, but the soft, pale pink bracts with the silvery sheen are the most sought after.

The amazing variety in plant size, habit, flower size and colour was the reason it was named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape at will. The flower bud of Protea Cynaroides looks remarkably like the globe artichoke vegetable named Cynara Scolymus, which led to botanist Linnaeus to give it the species name cynaroides.

Bean, A & Johns, A (2005). Stellenbosch to Hermanus: South African Wild Flower Guide 5. Cape Town: Botanical Society of South Africa. 156 - 157

Tick Berry

Tick Berry Flowers Tick Berry Tick Berry Location

The bright yellow Crysanthemoides monilifera, which means “yellow flower bearing a necklace” (thanks to the green-red berries that grows below the blooms) is a beautifully bright shrub that can grow up to 2m in height and blooms all year round, with the most blooms being seen around Autumn. Due to the edible little fruits that it produces this flower is easily spread through bird and animal droppings, helping to coat most of the mountain side in these daisy-like flowers.

Although pretty to us, this plant is seen as a nuisance in other countries due to its fast growing nature. All we know is that it adds much needed colour in the winter months and a great addition to your home garden!

Information has been adapted from

Pincushion Protea

Red Pincushion Leucospermum Pincushion Head

Leucospermum (Pincushion, Pincushion Protea or Leucospermum) is a genus of about 50 species of Protea that are indigenous to the South African Coastline.

These shrubs are evergreen and have been known to grow to 5m in length. The leaves are spirally arranged, tough and leathery, simple, linear to lanceolate, 2-12 cm long and 0.5-3 cm broad, with a serrated margin or serrated at the leaf apex only. The flowers are produced in dense inflorescences (seperate buds within the flower bud), which have large numbers of prominent styles, which inspires the name.

Information has been adapted from Wikipedia.

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