Pincushion protea

Extravagant and enthusiastic stalks

This South African bloomer is officially called Leucospermum cordifolium. Luckily we can just call it pincushion protea. As you can see, this name refers to the manner in which it flowers. The fabulous flower looks a bit spiky initially, but it’s soon revealed to have not pins, but extravagant and enthusiastic flower stalks. 

Colours and shapes

Although originally orange, the flower now also comes in ochre, lemon and a reddish colour. The sturdy leaves are slightly hairy and point upwards along the stem. The leaf is coated with a thin layer of wax as protection against the salty sea wind… although it probably doesn’t need it indoors. 


The name Leucospermum comes from Greek and literally means ‘white seed’. Cordifolium means ‘having heart-shaped flowers’. You would therefore think that there is a lot of symbolism attached to this flower. But sadly you have to create your own symbolic meaning. However, the various colours do have their own meaning. Hence yellow represents a new beginning, radiance and happiness.


This small South African tree originally grew on rocky slopes on the coast in the south-west of the Cape of Good Hope. The pincushion protea is now also grown in Israel and Australia.