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King Protea (Protea cynaroides) flowers

King Protea (Protea cynaroides) flowers

C038/3280

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Flowers of the King Protea (Protea cynaroides), a native of South Africa, and the national flower of South Africa. The flowers are at different stages of development, with an opening bud to right, and a flower post pollination below. The "flower" is a complex inflorescence, consisting of a ring of stamens surrounding a central boss comprised of stigmas. The "petals" (scarlet) 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 develops new shoots which grow to produce a replacement plant. Protea flowers are nectar-rich and are pollinated by birds in their native habitat. Photographed in Victoria, Australia, where the flowers are commonly visited by bees.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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