Protea lorifolia, the strap-leaved protea, sometimes becomes only a compact shrub of 1 m or so. When conditions allow it is a small tree of around 3 m, while rarely reaching 5 m in height (SA Tree List No. 91). The grey bark, initially smooth, develops rough round patches and gradually becomes rough all over.
The leaves of this Protea are long, narrowly to broadly oblanceolate with rounded or shallowly notched tips. The leaves taper into their thick petioles. Leaf colour is grey-green to blue-green, leaf texture leathery. Hairiness of the leaf surfaces occurs only when the leaves are young. The thickened leaf midrib and margin are cream or red, cartilaginous.
The inflorescence is broadly oblong to inversely conical. The involucral bract tips have distinct silvery or purple-brown beards.
The plant occurs on semi-arid inland sandstone slopes of southern Cape mountain ranges such as the Langeberg, Swartberg, Outeniqua and Kouga Mountains, from Ceres to Humansdorp. Extreme temperatures are common in the plant’s distribution area (Rourke, 1980; Coates Palgrave, 2002).