Protea magnifica, the queen protea, is a variable species growing into sprawling, rounded or erect shrubs of about 2,5 m. Occasionally, when fire does not reach them, trees of 3,5 m tall may be seen (SA Tree List No. 86.1).
A discarded name of the plant, P. barbigera meaning bearded protea, provides an apt description of the hairiness found at the tips of the involucral bracts and unopened floret tips of the flowerheads. The plant grows a single, stout, main stem and does not resprout after fire. The young stems tend to be hairy.
P. magnifica is distributed in the Western Cape from the Kogelberg northwards as far as the Cederberg, eastwards along the Langeberg and the Swartberg to the western parts of the Little Karoo; mostly at elevations above 1200 m.
The habitat is rocky outcrops in moist fynbos. Cold winters, even snow, but also hot summers characterise this habitat. Large colonies of this plant may occur in montane fynbos. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century (Rourke, 1980; Coates Palgrave, 2002; http://redlist.sanbi.org).