This is what remains of a Protea eximia flowerhead after blooming, fruiting and seed dispersal. The woody receptacle base in picture is surrounded by spreading lower parts of involucral bracts of the inner rows that still remain in dried form.
The central, low cone of hard, short, pointed bracts of a different kind that each subtended the base of a floret perianth and ovary, is one of nature’s geometric masterpieces. The evenly arranged, curving rows of woody triangles show the gaps from where the neatly arranged florets emerged. This is where they were firmly held in place until the dispersal of the seeds (Coates Palgrave, 2002; Leistner, (Ed.), 2000; Rourke, 1980).