one Flower – one King

While the esteemed lens-artist quartet is on a very short sabbatical during which they are singularly pondering the beauty of flowers, the guest host Cee is giving us a single flower 101 class. Okay technically it is edition #101 of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and the theme is photos featuring One Single Flower. Anyway Cee is actually more into masterclasses than the 101 variety.

On top of limiting myself to single flowers, I also limit myself to a single genus namely the Protea. But limit is the wrong word. The Protea was named after Poseidon’s son Proteus, who could change his appearance at will in order not to be detected. As the Protea has many varieties of flowers with different sizes and colours, it takes after the multiplicity of his appearance, but unlike Proteus the Protea certainly cannot hide. It is a striking flower and stands out even in the presence of other beautiful flowers. 

But the origin I want to ascribe to its name, rather comes from Greek itself.  Prōtos “πρῶτος”  which means first – first among flowers?

Protea cynaroides - the first among flowers

The King Protea -Protea cynaroides. National flower of South Africa

The King Protea has the largest flower of the genus, is South Africa’s national flower and also the emblem of South Africa’s national sport teams. The National cricket team is actually known as the Proteas. 

But there is something which bothers me regarding the Latin name for  the King Protea, as Cynaroides means like an Artichoke!! Now I will admit visually there is a resemblance between a closed Protea (before they burst into bloom that is) and an Artichoke. I will even admit that my taste buds have not befriended an Artichoke. But as the taste is rumoured to be akin to celery and asparagus I’ll rather eat a Protea. I apologize for this vicious remark as cannibalism is outlawed, even when your national team looses. Just not cricket old chap.  I propose an Artichoke to be rather called Cynara Proteades “like a Protea”.  Henceforth the official scientific Latin name of the King Protea is Protea Rex, but I will allow Italians to call it Protea Caesar.  And by the way those of English Rose descent, it is not pronounced pro-tea and no you cannot brew that liquid with the Rex.

Like an Artichoke? nah not even close… The endangered Protea inopina (Large-nut sugarbush)

Please do not use the shaving brush Sugar bush Protea to shaveShaving brush Sugarbush  (please do not use it as a shaving brush!)

Bee-utiful Protea Nitida

Pin cushion Protea Leucospermum cordifolium

Protea neriifolia.  This photo I took during my 50th birthday party hike

The not so common white King Protea, which rather has a creamy yellow-ish tint

Climbed Table Mountain on Monday (2 days ago) and being the first hike since February it was totally inspiring. I was tempted to show you some views of Cape Town via the mountain… but  in fact you are getting some views as the photos of the Large nut, Shaving brush and Nitida were taken during this hike.

I conclude with the last verse of a poem by Sima Eliovson “The lure of the Protea”.  I googled this minutes ago after adding the photos and all remarks. I experienced déjà vu – as if I read a summary of my post!

To some it seems a giant artichoke,
While others link it to the ancient god
for whom tis named –
The ruby glow and allied silky beard
evoke the mystery of primeval days;
A traveller, who ranges far from home,
will quicken at its sight and yearn
And envy sugarbirds,
that dip into the gleaming cup,
while swaying gently in the wind.


“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these”. Luke 12:27

54 thoughts on “one Flower – one King

  1. Loved your creativity this week Abrie, and you’re right about Cee and master class! I remember this flower from our SA visit, it is gorgeous. Don’t think we have them here in the US. But as an aside, I do love artichokes also, as long as they are drenched in butter and lemon 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Christa baie dankie vir jou besoek, Ja hierdie kern van die Fynbos areas is inderdaad ‘n pragtige blom. Daar is 3 plantgroepe wat teenwoordig moet wees vir ‘n area om as Fynbos geklassifiseer te word. Dit ander 2 is Erika’s en restio’s. Maar hulle is maar vaal in vergelyking met die Proteas.

    Nou moet ek net weer in die pragtigste taal op aarde begin blog: Afrikaans!


  3. Fantastic homage to a stunning flower. Only seen it one time and that was in Potsdam Paradise Garden. You have real lifted this flower and made it very interesting. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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