One of my favorite plant families is Proteaceae, of which its best known plants are Protea, Banksia, Embothrium, Grevillea, Hakea, Dryandra, Leucadendron, Leucospermum, and Macadamia. If you think Macadamia might be macadamia nuts, well, you would be right. Most of their flowers look like pincushions, which is a common name for many of them.
Except for one King Protea currently blooming near the giraffes at the San Diego Zoo, this family generally blooms when it’s hot and dry. They also don’t like a lot of water, so San Diego’s climate suits them well. Unfortunately, very few plant nurseries carry these beautiful plants, so you’re best ordering them online from some place like Australia or South Africa. If you want to see a great collection here in San Diego, head on out to the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego (link to Google map) in June and July.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Proteaceae family, all of them from either the San Diego Zoo or the Water Conservation Garden:
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