Proteaceae (protea family)
East coast of Australia
A tall specimen is growing on the Stanford Avenue greenbelt path behind 838 Santa Fe Avenue. The ½- by 4-inch leaves are furry silver beneath with mostly untoothed edges. The compound flowers in the form of greenish yellow bottle brushes about 4 inches long by 2 inches in diameter are decorative and even in winter a few may often be seen, but they are too high to be reached except by squirrels. The innumerable individual flowers consist of a closed tube containing a 1-inch-long, persistent, wiry pistil. The tube opens into four parts, each bearing an anther, without benefit of a stamen. Just before the tube opens the anthers deposit pollen on a holder for presentation to pollinators. The stigma, immediately above, then awaits cross-pollination. The trees grow on coastal sand dunes and tolerate salt spray.
About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005.