This pincushion is the only one in South Africa not growing in
the winter rainfall area of the Western Cape. This is a summer rainfall
species to be found on the northern section of Drakensberg mountains
from Pilgrim's Rest to Tzaneen. It also occurs outside South Africa
on the Chimanimani mountain range.
It is a multi-stemmed shrub that can grow up to 2m in height under
idea conditions with a woody underground rootstock. The leaves are
simple, elliptic to almost linear with teeth on the red-edged apex
(leaf tip). The flowers (perianth) are yellowish-orange. Leucospermum
saxosum has some flowers almost the whole year round, but the
main flowering time is September- December. This plant is listed
as rare in South Africa.
It occurs on quartzite soils on rocky mountain slopes at high altitudes.
These beautiful plants do very well in the Pretoria National Botanical
Garden with its sandy soils. These plants are only watered during
summer and can tolerate a reasonable amount of frost.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
This plant was described by S Moore and was found for the first
time on the Chimanimani Mountains. The word "saxosum"
means on rocky ground. The common name refers to the flower head
with its protruding styles that resembles a pincushion with the
orange pollen presenters. There are 51 species of Leucospermum,
the most well known being L. cordifolium, the ordinary orange
pincushion that has been on the market for many years and has become
a popular garden plant.
Most leucospermums are insect pollinated. Leucospermum saxosum
has adapted to the high rainfall and mist of the mountain tops.
Growing Leucospermum saxosum
This plant forms a lovely bush and can be used as
a focal point or as part of a planting within a bed. Please remember
it can spread up to 1,5m in width. As with all plants of the Proteaceae
family; do not disturb the roots, as these plants are susceptible
to fungal infections. This plant can be cultivated from seed that
is released about 1-2 months after flowering or propagated from
cuttings made in spring. Cuttings must be planted in well-drained
soil and made from the harder wood.
1. GERMISHUIZEN, G. 1997. Wild flowers of Northern South Africa.
Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, SA
2. REBELO, T. 1995. Sasol Proteas A field guide to the Proteas
of Southern Africa. Fernwood Press, Vlaeberg, SA
3. VOGTS, M. 1982. Suid-Afrika se Proteaceae, Ken hulle en kweek
hulle. Struik, Kaapstad.
4. MOORE, S. 1911 - 1912. J Linn. Soc.Bot. Vol XL. 40:185.
Longman, Grenal & CO. London
Pretoria National Botanical Garden