Leucospermum R.Br.


Greek leucos — white, sperma — seed

Shrubs or small trees. Leaves simple, alternate, leathery, entire or with a few teeth, mostly at the tip. Flower clusters mostly axillary, solitary or in groups of 2-4 (rarely to 10), the bracts small and inconspicuous. Flowers with 3 upper lobes fused to form a sheath for the anthers, the lower lobe elongating but still fused at the base. Styles long and showy, giving a pincushion appearance. Fruit a brownish nut embedded in the floral remains.

Generally grown for the attractive flower clusters.

47 species from S Africa.

Mostly semi-hardwood cuttings.

Popular florists' flowers.

Flower heads mostly axillary, with small inconspicuous bracts (cf. Protea); flowers with the 3 upper lobes fused to form a sheath, the 4th elongating but fused at the base; styles prominent and protruding; fruits nut-like.

Rourke (1972).

Source: Spencer, R.; Molyneux, B.; Mathews, D. (2002). Proteaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Cultivars of hybrid origin

CARNIVAL This is a registered trademark used for a series of 3 Proteaflora cultivars: 'Copper', 'Dawn' and 'Sunshine'.

MARDI GRAS is a registered trademark used for the 2 cultivars, 'Veldfire' and 'Baby Flowers'.

Leucospermum 'Calypso'

L. cordifolium _ l. glabrum. Flower clusters orange-red with yellow styles; early to mid-summer. Raised by Proteaflora, Australia, and int. 1988.

Leucospermum 'Firewheel'

L. cordifolium × L. tottum. Flower heads pinkish red, produced in early summer. Raised by Proteaflora and int. 1980. Syn. 'Caroline'.

Leucospermum 'Scarlet Ribbon'

L. glabrum × L. tottum. Flower cluster multi-coloured, salmon pink with purplish red striping, 9.5-11 cm wide; Sept-Oct. Originated at the Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, s Africa, in 1974, selected in 1980, int. in 1984. Syn. 'Bluebeard'.

Leucospermum 'Tango'

L. glabrum 'Helderfontein' × L. lineare 'Diadem'. Flower cluster deep orangered, 10-11 cm wide; Sept-Oct. Originated at the Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute, S Africa, in 1979, selected in 1984, int. c.1993.

Leucospermum 'Veldfire'

L. conocarpodendron × L. glabrum. Flower cluster yellow with orange perianth ribbons. Originated and named in s Africa by H. Wood and int. by M. Jackson in 1979.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Proteanae
order      Proteales
family       Proteaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Leucospermum conocarpodendron L.
species         Leucospermum glabrum Phillips
species         Leucospermum patersonii Philips
species         Leucospermum praecox Rourke
species         Leucospermum reflexum Beissn.
species         Leucospermum tottum (L.) R.Br.
species         Leucospermum vestitum (Lam.) Rourke