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A large family of dicotyledonous plants in the order Proteales, notable for often having a large cluster of small or reduced flowers.



(protea), a family of dicotyledonous plants that includes shrubs, trees, and, less commonly, undershrubs. The evergreen leaves have no stipules and are mostly alternate and often leathery. The flowers, which are primarily bisexual and usually regular, are solitary or in inflorescences. The simple perianth consists of four petal-shaped leaflets, which frequently are adnate below. There are four stamens. The gynoeceum consists of one carpel. The fruits are follicles, nuts, samaras, or drupes.

There are approximately 1,400 species, making up about 60 genera. The plants grow primarily in the dry regions of the southern hemisphere. There are approximately 800 species in Australia and 380 in southern Africa. The largest genera are Grevillea (approximately 160 species), Hakea (more than 100 species), Protea (more than 110 species), and Leucadendron (approximately 70 species). The last genus includes the silver tree (L. argenteum), which is native to southern Africa and is noted for its dense silvery gray pubescence. Some species yield valuable wood, and others have edible seeds. A number of species are raised in greenhouses.


Hutchinson, J. The Genera of Flowering Plants, vol. 2. Oxford, 1967.