Genus Leucospermum

The Pincushions are a key component of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region, an area of incredible floral diversity and endemism known as fynbos, the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms and a recognised World Heritage Site. Among the 48 currently recognised species in the genus are species that grow prostrate along the ground while others grow as large shrubs up to 5m tall. Most of these species have a limited distribution and 40 of them are threatened to some degree or another by inappropriate land use, incorrect fire management and invading alien plants and ants. Only 5 species occur outside the Cape Floristic Region.

Pincushions are evergreen and grow in relative depleted soil. The flowers are pollinated by nectar-feeding birds and rodents, and once the seeds have been formed these are carried underground by native pugnacious ants (genus Anoplolepis). The seeds remain dormant underground until a fire sweeps through the fynbos above, at which point the seeds germinate and establish a new generation of Pincushion plants.

Pincushions are popular in gardens and in the cut flower trade.


17 thoughts on “Pincushion

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Oee, nou’s jy by my gunsteling afdeling – fynbos! Dis altyd lekker om speldekussings in die natuur te sien … wanneer ons stap, is dit een van die min bosse waar ek letterlik in my spore gaan stilstaan om daarna te staan en kyk. En jy het soveel mooi foto’s van hierdie unieke blom – dankie dat jy dit met ons deel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DeWetsWild Post author

      I should’ve been clearer on that aspect, Tracy. The invading ants displace our indigenous pugnacious ants, and as the pincushion seeds are then not carried undergound these exotic ants are an indirect threat to the plants.

      Liked by 1 person


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