Leucospermum patersonii, commonly the silveredge pincushion, is a large, rounded shrub or small tree reaching 5 m in height (SA Tree List No. 85). It has grey-brown bark upon its single main stem and stout lower branches. The upper stems are covered in brownish grey hairs. The plants become about 20 years old.
The hairless, sessile leaves are broadly oblong, their obtusely pointed or rounded tips have three to eight glandular, red teeth. These glands are thought to secrete a kind of nectar that attracts ants.
The ants disperse the seeds, for each fruit has a fleshy elaiosome attachment serving as ant food. Afterwards the bare seeds remain in the ant nests and germinate when moisture reaches them. This leaf gland nectar is presumably quite different from the nectar in the flowerheads consumed by the Cape sugarbirds.
The leaf base is somewhat lobed, sometimes broadly. Leaves overlap each other up the stems, closely ranked.
The stem-tip flowerheads may grow solitary or in groups of up to three. They are orange turning crimson when mature, showy or partly hidden among the leaves. Flowerheads are borne erectly, measuring 9 cm in diameter.
The silky perianths become 3 cm long, the styles up to 5,5 cm. The styles are red in their upper parts and curve in near the tips. The pollen presenters are large and hoof-shaped. Flowering happens from late winter to early summer.
The species used to grow from Kleinmond to Agulhas, the distribution now reduced to two parts, one around Kleinmond, the other south of Stanford to the Elim Flats, but lost from the Hermanus area.
The habitat is limestone coastal slopes and flats. L. patersonii is considered vulnerable in habitat early in the twenty first century, due to urban development, alien vegetation invasion and Protea farming. Further setbacks are expected from climate change (Privett, 2022; Privett and Lutzeyer, 2010; Coates Palgrave, 2002; http://redlist.sanbi.org).