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Unusual separation of sexes in silvery South African tree

As you might have guessed from last week's post on the southern African Butterspoon Tree, I've been to the Cape. I was only there for a week (in late August) but in coming weeks I'll feature plenty of the floral highlights from this part of the world, starting with the conspicuous and attractive Silver Tree.

One of the spectacular South African Proteaceae (and therefore related to the likes of our banksias and grevilleas), Leucadendron argenteum is attractive to humans and the small beetles mostly responsible for pollination.


But this is a botanical blog, mostly. The blooms of the Silver Tree contain either male flowers or female flowers, not both, and a single plant will only have blooms on one sex. So, you could say there are male or female plants.

Both produce their flowers in tightly packed cones within a shiny dish formed by the surrounding leaves. This is the male plant, being visited by a honeybee, helpfully helping the local beetles I hope.


And this is the female,…

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