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November 2016 Plant of the Month - Protea

November Plant of the Month 1Protea, sometimes called sugarbushes, are an ancient genus of plant, one of the oldest known groups of flowering plants on earth.  Scientific probes into the early history of plant life have shown that the ancestors of today’s Protea were present 300 million years ago.

Originating in the southern hemisphere, primarily South Africa and Australia, the Proteaceae family, to which proteas belong, are known for their large flowers, which usually bloom in the spring.  Protea make great cut flowers and they benefit from pruning.  They are cultivated in over 20 countries.

November Plant of the Month 2Plants from this family are very drought tolerant and they do well in Bay Area climates.  In the last few years they have become more widely used in our local landscapes.  At SFO, members of this plant family can be seen at a number of locations.  Some of the best examples can be seen along West Field Road.

Fun Fact:  The genus Protea was named in 1735 by Carl Linnaeus after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his form at will, because they have such a wide variety of forms.