Protea burchellii, previously P. pulchella and also P. pulchra, is an erect and spreading shrub that grows from a single stem. It reaches heights up to 2 m and spreads to 3 m in diameter. Only the young branches are hairy.
The sessile to short-stalked leaves are long and narrowly oblong with pointed tips where dark mucros are present. Young leaves are hairy, older ones glabrous. The prominent leaf margins and midribs are hard and cartilaginous, red or yellowish. The blades are sometimes wavy. Leaves are from 7 cm to 17 cm long and from 7 mm to 2 cm wide.
The inflorescences grow at stem-tips and spread, somewhat like inverted cones. It is up to 11 cm long and 7 cm wide.
Involucral bract colours vary from whitish cream to faintly greenish on some plants, while pink in several shades to carmine near the tips of the inner, taller rows of others. The bracts are often shiny, sometimes even appearing greasy.
The bracts are narrowly oblong to slightly spoon-shaped. They are hairless on their blades and lower margins but increasingly to densely hairy along the upper margins towards the tips in black, purple-black, brown or white beards. Some plants with very little bract tip beard also occur.
The bracts exceed the perianths and even the styles by about a third of their length and curve in over the perianths. The perianths are hairy near their tips, the styles straight. Flowering happens in winter.
The species distribution is in the far southwest of the Western Cape, from near the Cape Peninsula where it has become extinct, to Piketberg, Tulbagh and the Breede River.
The habitat is lower fynbos slopes, foothills, flats and valleys in a wide variety of soil types, ranging from clayey to sandy and gravelly (Rourke, 1980; Bean and Johns, 2005; iNaturalist).