Minimal blackening or browning of some Protea eximia involucral bract tips is seen here, resembling dirty fingernails. The upper, inner and longer bracts are still free from it.
They are more concerned with looking pretty for catching pollinator eyes. The lower, shorter ones are more work related than flaunting beauty, keeping the flowerhead in shape during the production process, not a limelight role. The white, hairy fringe at each bract-tip is not affected by the browning.
The bract blades are quite loose from the head in picture, bulging in the centre and ready to part and spread. Control of flowerhead parts, keeping everything neatly in place, isn’t as big a priority in the comparatively unkempt P. eximia heads, as it is in many other Protea species that bear neat and trim heads (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Rourke, 1980).