Protea Amplexicaulis ~ Stunning Clasping Leaf Sugarbush ~ Very Rare 3 Seeds
Protea amplexicaulis is a low-growing, sprawling shrub that varies in size and can grow up to 1.3 m in diameter, whereas the height remains under 500 mm. The plant more commonly grows close to the ground and has been spotted spilling over cliff faces, with dramatic effect. Thin stems of semi-hardwood, pinky-coloured branches grow horizontally from a short, single main stem. The bark of this shrub is a dull grey. The leaves are heart-shaped to oval, with a pointed tip. They are at right angles to the stem and quite sparsely arranged, but on new growth leaf arrangement, may be denser. They are sessile, i.e. have no petiole, and clasp the stem at the base. The leaves are powdery-green and are laced with bright, almost luminescent, pink edges. New shoots are often reddish pink, whereas older leaves are a duller, more powdery shade of green. At sunnier, higher altitudes, the leaves tend to be blue-grey, and when exposed to frost, they turn purple. At lower elevations, the leaves are usually a dull green. At the base of the plant, hidden under the leaves and branches, 60–80 mm flowerheads may be seen in late winter to spring (from June to September). They are produced in the axils of the lowermost leaves on all the stems and on the old growth at the centre of the plant. Spherical buds open to shallowly cup-shaped flowerheads. The flowers form a dense mass in the centre of the flowerhead; they are cream-coloured with red tips. They are surrounded by floral bracts. The outer surface of the floral bracts are velvety hairy and deep purple-black, later turning rusty brown, and they have a ciliate margin. Their inner surface is ivory to pale pink. The flowerheads give off a strong yeasty odour which attracts pollinators, like small mammals, such as mice and shrews. This protea is grouped in the rodent sugarbushes.
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