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Wolseley Conebush - Leucadendron spirale

The sum of R1000.00 will be awarded to the first person to report confirmed plants of the Wolseley Conebush - Leucadendron spirale.

As far as is known the plant is extinct, but some populations may still lurk in the Worcester Valley.

The species was collected in 1801 and 1819 from "Breede River".

From this population it was grown in the United Kingdom, where Richard Salisbury (1809) noted that "cuttings grow freely, but possessing little beauty it should only be admitted in extensive collections". It was also collected by Mr Bowie, but the localities are obviously incorrect ("in indurated soil, Soete Melks Rivier" and "on rocks of Langekloof".

It was again collected from "Wolseley:" in 1933 in "Heath, containing only few species, but river ground and swampy ground, few hours only". It has not been seen since.

Female Male
Wolseley Conebush - Drawing: Nicci Page Wolseley Conebush - Drawing: Nicci Page

The plant has needle-like, rough, leaves 4-9mm long. The male flowerheads are 6-8 mm long and do not have floral bracts - they probably liberate clouds of pollen if knocked while flowering. The female plants produce seed-bearing cones: these form hard balls about 20 mm round. It is closely related to the Strawberry Conebush, which has longer leaves, and bigger, red cones. It probably flowers in summer.

If you know of this plant, please contact us.

There are two other extinct proteas - the Mace Pagoda - Mimetes stokoei and the Wynberg Conebush - Leucadendron grandiflorum. If you suspect that you have found populations of these, please contact us.

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