The Protea

Ben Shaw

Katoomba, Australia

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Artist's Description

This photo was taken at Kurrajong in the Blue Mountains of NSW Australia.

These stunning plants, so often adorned with generous and impressive flowers, hail from Africa. The genus comprises around 100 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, and is a member of the family Proteaceae. The genus is named for the sea-god of classical mythology, Proteus, renowned for his ability to change his form at will. These striking plants bear long-lasting blooms that flower over a long period, usually from autumn to spring. In favorable climates they are superb plants for shrub borders and containers. The beautiful flowers are highly valued for floral work and are grown extensively for the cut-flower market.

Flowering Season: , Autum, Winter, Spring

Appearance
Ranging in stature from tiny shrubs just inches from the ground, to tall trees of 25 ft (8 m) or more, these handsome plants make a stunning focal point in the garden. The leaves are variable, ranging from oval to needle-like; they are often leathery, and can be light to dark green, blue-green, or gray-green. The bisexual flowers are borne in cone-like heads with colored leaf-like bracts at the base. They flowers mostly appear between autumn and late spring and are longlasting. Pinks, creams, and reds are the principal flower colors, though other colors do occur.

Cultivation
Proteas need an open, sunny, well-ventilated position and a climate that experiences most rainfall in winter. They need a gravelly, sandy, or basaltic loam that is very free-draining and generally acid. Providing their cultivation requirements are met, they are relatively undemanding once established, and will tolerate light frosts. Propagation is from seed, cuttings, or grafting; the hybrid cultivars are usually propagated from cuttings.

Source: “www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories”

Artwork Comments

  • Magee
  • Andrew Bosman
  • tjmimagery
  • Sean Farragher
  • Al Bourassa
  • Jennifer and Paul Cave
  • Janine  Hewlett
  • Marcia Luly
  • Ben Shaw
  • photogenique
  • Ben Shaw
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