At a former protea farm on the island of Maui, a King Protea displays its trademark shiny leaves, a collection of white and yellow flowers at the center, surrounded by prized soft pink bracts with a silvery sheen. This single flower is about 12 inches in diameter, roughly the size of a man’s head.
Its name, Protea (Protea cynaroides), comes from the Greek god Proteus, who was able to change between many forms–an apt moniker due to the 1600 species sharing this name with wide range of colors, formations, and leaves within its family of flowers. This particular species is typically found in South Africa and is that nation’s National Flower.
In Hawaii, protea are grown and cultivated to be exported and used in flower arrangements and gardens on the mainland.