Western Cape Protea species have made some incredible adaptations in response to their habitat challenges. They are simultaneously robust in trying conditions like devastating fires and low nutrient soils, as well as vulnerable against human impact.
In 1980 J. P. Rourke wrote: “…the Cape proteas have developed an astonishing array of bizarre floral modifications; axillary flower-heads, luxuriantly bearded involucral bracts, plumed awns on the perianth limbs, and stamens that have been aborted into staminodes, while pollen presenters have taken on grotesque stylings” (p.48).
The Protea survival victories through these wondrous innovations are also ours. People benefit from the successes of the living species on earth. Although we cannot fight their battles for them, we can reduce the human hindrance factor by learning and applying land and nature stewardship.