DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flower of the King Protea, Protea cynaroides, a native of South Africa, and the national flower of South Africa. The "flower" is a complex inflorescence, consisting of a ring of stamens surrounding a central boss comprised of stigmas. The "petals" - here pink, are in fact floral bracts.P. cynaroides is adapted to fire by the development of a swollen underground stem called a lignotuber, a structure shared with many eucalyptus species. Following a catastrophic fire event, the lignotuber produces new shoots which grow to produce a replacement plant. Protea flowers are nectar-rich and are pollinated by birds in their native habitat. This picture was taken in Victoria Australia, where the flowers are commonly visited by bees.
Model release not required. Property release not required.