Sunday, 4 December 2016

Leucospermum cordifolium -- Pincushion

"Leucospermum cordifolium -- Pincushion Protea", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Leucospermum cordifolium, commonly known as “Pincushion”, belongs to the Protea family and is indigenous to South Africa. It is native to a fairly small area of the South Western Cape where it can be found growing in acidic, nutrient-poor soils. The bright orange "flowers" combined with abundant pale green leaves make it a very recognizable plant.  Other genera of the Protea family, which produce striking flowers, are Leucadendron and Protea

Cape Sugarbird
An added attraction during flowering time are the numerous birds found near the plants. In the early hours of the morning the abundant nectar flow attracts a variety of small insects, which in turn attract the Cape Sugar bird and three species of Sunbird. These insectivorous birds consume the small insects as well as the nectar, and in the process transfer pollen from one flower to the next. The flowers are not self-pollinating and depend on the birds and the small Scarab beetles for pollination. 

Leucospermum cordifolium is a rounded spreading shrub which can grow to about 2 m. in diameter and 1.5 m. high, with a single main stem and horizontally spreading stems with abundant, heart-shaped, green leaves. Leucospermums are brilliantly coloured in shades of red, orange and bright yellow with orange being predominant. The “blossoms” consist of a large number of small flowers. It is the stiff protruding styles of the flowers which are the source of the common name of "pincushion" for this genus. 

Only a few large, hard, white, nut-like seeds are produced by each “blossom”. In their natural environment the seeds are collected by ants, stored in the soil, and germinate only after a fire has killed the mature plants and returned the nutrients back to the soil. 

The genus name of Leucospermum, meaning “white seed”, is a combination of two Greek words: leuco meaning white and spermum meaning seed. The species name of cordifolium, meaning “heart-shaped leaf”, is a combination of two Latin words: cordi meaning heart and folium meaning leaf.

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


For more than a few years now I have taken time on every Sunday morning to reflect on Suki's behaviour during the past week.

As you will be aware, if you are a regular reader of these postings, Suki often does some interesting, unexpected and, occasionally, comical things. However, every so often, she goes through a period of weeks where her behaviour is almost exemplary -- and, it would seem that we are going through such a period at present.

For the past several weeks, Suki has, indeed, been relatively well behaved. Not only has she refrained from nocturnal naughtiness while I am sleeping, but she has also allowed me to sleep (most days) until 6:30 or even 7 a.m.

As this is about the third week in a row during which her behaviour has been relatively decent, I am now beginning to get just a bit nervous.  It is like waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know something is going to happen and as you wait and wait, the tension and unease seem to grow with each passing day. 

Suki is one of the cleverest cats I have ever known so I'm sure it won't be much longer before she comes up with something new -- something that will make her life more pleasant and my life more difficult.  What a cat!

As for me, I continue to feel rather grumpy.  I have been feeling this way ever since my computer crash early last month.  I know I don't have any real cause to complain as I, prudently, had long ago installed an external hard drive which did an update every night at about 3 a.m.  This means that I didn't lose anything of importance. However, I still feel somewhat irritated as I try to find my way on this new machine with its updated software. Ah, well, I'm sure I will feel better about things in time.

Otherwise, my life remains reasonably quiet and not too uncomfortable.  I have no medical appointments scheduled but there are a number of visits planned in the weeks ahead as we approach my birthday and Christmas. One of the most exciting of these visits will occur next Saturday when I am scheduled to visit "my boys" and their parents for an early Christmas celebration. If all goes as planned, I will be able to tell you about it in next Sunday's posting.


Second Sunday of Advent


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