Proteas, those hardy plants native to the Western Cape, Southwest Australia, Southeast Asia, Madagascar, New Guinea and New Zealand, have been around since the days of the dinosaurs! Here in the Cape Floral Kingdom 330 species are growing against mountains and in sandy nutrient-poor soils.
Proteas are also cultivated for export around Piketberg, and in my painting I am showing Leacadendron discolor, also known as Piketberg Conebush, a native of the mountain. The leaves protecting the bright pompoms which are the real flowers, are a lovely custard yellow with a reddish tint. This composition has been planned in my studio, so to flank the conebushes I have painted in smaller proteas which are found next to the coast: Leucospernum tomentosum (Saldanha Pincushions) and Protea scolymocephala (witskollie). May I just mention that identification is extremely difficult, so if anybody does not agree with my identification, please join the discussion!
I am showing another painting, a large watercolour which I painted in 1993. Large open flowers of Protea cynaroides, South Africa's national flower are shown with the popular Protea repens which never opens completely.