The Protea family is named after the Greek God Proteus who repeatedly changed his appearance. One of the forms that our Cape Proteas take is that of the Leucadendrons or Cone Bushes. This group of proteas has separate male and female plants, often looking quite different from one another. The female plant produces woody cones which protect the seeds. There are 83 known species of Leucadendron in the southwestern Cape.
In spite of their relatively large size these bushes are an inconspicuous green during the summer. However at the onset of winter, the terminal leaves surrounding the flower of many species change colour and become vivid yellow. For this reason these species are commonly referred to as the sunshine conebushes.
At this time of year these Leucadendrons seem to have appeared from nowhere to dominate the terrain in the loveliest way possible. Where previously there was no colour in the landscape, it is suddenly blanketed in vibrant yellows. Where these conebushes are particularly abundant it appears as if entire mountainsides have been draped in a stitched yellow quilt. And at times like this, the warmth of colour from the sunshine conebushes compensates for the paucity of warmth from the sun!