The word Protea is used for the entire family, as well as the genus and is the common name. They are often called sugarbush, because of the abundant nectar they produce.
The genus Protea was named in 1735 by Carolus Linneaus after the Greek god Proteus. He could change his form at will. This indicates the varied forms that Proteas have. Much of this was when considering the entire family and since then plants within the genus have been moved around and most Protea flowers are quite similar.
They have become valuable cut flower crop because of stunning large blooms and the longevity of the bloom.
There are around 112 species, 89 of which are endemic to Southern Africa. Most of those only occur within South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region. There are several species of Protea teetering at the brink of extinction. One of these is Protea venusta, a plant that I have grown from seed and is planted out in the garden.
Name Derivation: Named after the Greek god Proteus who was able to change between many forms. This supposedly reflects the variety and diversity of the plants in this family.
Common Name: Protea
Protea is in the family Proteaceae.