The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

King Protea - a beautiful flower

Afrikaans name: Grootsuikerkan

King Protea

Photo © Patrik Stedrak -

Protea cynaroides

The King Protea is the national flower of South Africa. It has various other names including Giant Protea and King Sugar Bush.

This is a popular plant in the gardening world and numerous colour varieties have been cultivated. It is a popular cut flower and has a long life in the vase.

The King Protea is a shrub that grows to a height of around 1 metre, sometimes up to 2 metres. The flowers are up to 30 cm in diameter, making them the biggest of the Protea flowers, and a bush may get up to 10 flowers during the flowering season. The flowers are often frequented by sunbirds and sugarbirds. Insects, such as bees, are also attracted to them.

These plants are adapted to cope with hot dry summers and cold wet winters.

References and further reading

Sasol First Field Guide to Wild Flowers of Southern Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 1999 - Page: 47

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 109

Wild Flowers of Table Mountain - Author: WPU Jackson - Published: 1977 - Page: 77

SA Wild Flower Guide No 5 - Stellenbosch to Hermanus - 2nd edition - Author: Anne Bean & Amida Johns - Published: 2005 - Page: 156

Proteas for Pleasure - 3rd edition - Author: Sima Eliovson - Published: 1973 - Page: 64

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 392

Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: John Manning - Published: 2009 - Page: 170

Ecoguide - Fynbos - Author: Colin Paterson-Jones and John Manning - Published: 2007 - Page: 141

Discovering Wild Flowers in Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Sima Eliovson - Published: 1969 - Page: 50

Common Wild Flowers of Table Mountain & Silvermine - Author: Hugh Clarke, Bruce Mackenzie & Corinne Merry - Published: 2013 - Page: 51


List of South African Plants

Got a comment about the content on this page?

This website features affiliate links, meaning we’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links.

Copyright Steven Herbert Projects, 2013 - 2023. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy - FAQ - Terms of use