Protea lorifolia

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah - February, March & April

Common name riemblaarsuikerbos, strap-leaf sugarbush, ass ears
Scientific name Protea lorifolia (Knight) Fourc.
Family  Proteaceae
Etymology

Genus: Protea after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his form at will, because proteas have such a wide variety of forms.

Species:  lorifolia means 'with a strap-like leaf', referring to the shape of the leaves.

Distribution Widespread in the southern and south-eastern Cape of South Africa at altitudes of 450 m to 1400 m.
Native habitat This white-flowered form is found on the drier inland mountains, at Baviaanskloof near Humansdorp, Eastern Cape Province.
Description Usually grows to 1.5 m - 3 m tall by 2 m wide.
Flowering/fruiting Usually has pink flowers but this is a particularly striking white-flowering form. Variation in flower colour within species is a fascinating phenomenon that is common in Protea and a number of other South African genera.

Location

You can find this plant below the Visitor Centre in the Rock Garden beds devoted to African plants and members of the plant family Proteaceae. Most species of Protea (including P. lorifolia) are pollinated in the wild by nectar-collecting sugarbirds  but here you will often see the white-cheeked honeyeater, Phylidonyris niger, visiting the proteas.

 

This is one of the earliest of the proteas in flower at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah - most of the others flower in winter/spring.

The strap-leaf sugarbush requires full sun and well-drained soil, low in phosphates and nitrates.

Protea lorifolia

Protea lorifolia