Mimetes fimbriifolius - Indigenous South African Protea - 5 Seeds

Seeds for Africa

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Most Protea occur south of the Limpopo River. However, Protea kilimanjaro is found in the chaparral zone of Mount Kenya National Park. 92% of the species occur only in the Cape Floristic Region, a narrow belt of mountainous coastal land from Clan William to Grahamstown, South Africa. The extraordinary richness and diversity of species characteristic of the Cape Flora is thought to be caused in part by the diverse landscape where populations can become isolated from each other and in time develop into separate species.

Mimetes fimbriifolius is a beautiful rounded tree that was once common on Table Mountain, but its numbers have been greatly depleted by harvesting for fire wood since the eighteenth century. It is endemic to the Cape Peninsula, and good populations of this species continue to survive on the southern Peninsula especially at Silvermine and at Cape Point. At maturity Mimetes fimbriifolius develops into a stout, densely branched, wide-spreading tree up to 4 m tall and 5 m in diameter. It produces a thick, corky trunk between 25 and 60 cm in diameter which branches about half a metre above soil level. The branches are stout, stocky and repeatedly divide to produce interlocking branchlets to form a dense, rounded crown. The general appearance of this species is of rounded forms dotted or grouped, looking like vegetative tortoise shells in the fynbos landscape. Its leaves are numerous, upwardly overlapping, and so closely packed together at the ends of the branches that they obscure the branch structure of specimens in their prime. Old, senescent specimens become more ragged and may lose shape and expose the gnarled branch structure beneath. The leaves are oblong to elliptic and have a thick fringe of white pubescent hairs on the margins. Mimetes flower heads are cylindrical and about 60–80 mm long and 60–70 mm across and consist of a combination of flower headlets, coloured leaves and bracts. Each flower head consists of up to15 headlets (groups of flowers) which are borne in the axils of the uppermost foliage leaves of a flowering branch. There are four to seven flowers in each headlet and each headlet is clasped from above by a reddish yellow, cowl-shaped leaf. The styles are 45–50 mm long and red. The pollen presenter is 5–7 mm long and spindle-shaped. Mimetes fimbriifolius is generally less colourful than M. cucullatus, but some trees produce lovely red leaves at the ends of flowering branches during flowering and provide spectacularly colourful tree specimens. This colouring of the leaves around the flower heads is variable and a tree that displays magnificent colour in one year may not do so in another year.Flowering may occur all year, but mainly from July to December, with a peak in September.

USDA Zone - 9

Season to Sow - Autumn

 

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