South Africa’s national flower, the protea, has a special place in my heart. I love them. They are not conventionally beautiful like a rose or a lily, but they evolved to be able to flourish in a harsh environment.
The king protea, so called because of its resemblance to a crown, is the largest of all proteas and is found in the Cape Floristic region. The flower appears on South African birth certificates and passports, as well as on the South African 5-Rand coin. The Proteas, South Africa’s cricket team, also took its name from the genus. (source)
The genus is thought to be over 300 million years old, from the super-continent Gondwana, which split into Southern Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and South America.
I received some from dinner guests this past weekend. And, if all goes well, I should be winging my way to South Africa in 52 days, to see my family for the first time in four years.