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Serruria rosea

   (Family: Proteaceae)
   
Afrikaans: Strooimeisie, Bruidsbos English: Rose Spiderhead, Bridesmaid spiderhead  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 0.8 - 1m
Rarity Status:
Common
   
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred altitude: 300 - 620m
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
  Sand (coarse texture, drains easily)
pH: acid
Biome: Fynbos
 
Flowering time EDIT
              x x x    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
 
Pink
 
  Polinator
  Insects
  Flower info
  Spherical flower heads are clustered at the ends of branches and are cream in bud, opening to rose-pink and darkening with age. Flower heads open from the tip of the branch downwards, giving a long-lasting flowering display. The style is about 11 mm long and the pollen presenter is club-shaped. The perianth is covered with long, silver, silky hairs giving a fluffy look to the flower head. Pink involucral bracts are large, 8–25 mm long, and have a hairy margin.
 
 
Leaf shape EDIT
 
 
Leaf size 30 - 60mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Evergreen
  Leaves curve upwards and are finely divided, measuring 30–60 mm long. They are hairless and have fine points on the tips.
 
 
 
  Seed info EDIT
 
 
 
Description EDIT
one of the showiest spiderheads, producing a spectacular display of up to 20 rose-pink tightly clustered flower heads per stem.

Serruria rosea is a stunning garden plant if given the right conditions.
Growing EDIT
The rose spiderhead will grow well in a fynbos garden provided you can give it the following: a well-drained sandy acidic soil that, once planted, is disturbed as little as possible, good air circulation (preferably due to wind), and direct sunlight for most of the day. If drainage is a problem in your garden try to build a slope or incorporate a rockery and plant your fynbos along it. Serrurias will get sick and die if the environmental conditions mentioned above are not correct. Once the plants are weakened they are very prone to attack from fungi, specifically the root rot Phytophthora.

Serrurias are not long-lived plants and will require replacing every few years. One way to prolong their life is by pruning. We have found that plants grown at Kirstenbosch have remained compact and neat, due to pruning for cutting material each year. This also stimulates new growth and more flowering, as each new shoot will produce another cluster of flower heads. Do not prune more than one-third of the bush and always make sure there is plenty of leafy growth left behind. Plants do need to be pruned from the planting stage, as pruning old plants that are already long and woody is not effective.

Watering is best done in the morning, so the plant has time to dry off before the heat of the midday sun. If plants are watered in very hot conditions the water droplets can magnify the suns rays and scorch the leaves, as well as creating ideal conditions for fungi and bacteria to grow. Applying a thick layer of mulch will keep the soil cool and moist for longer.

Serrurias do not require large amounts of feeding. Incorporate a small quantity of well-rotted compost at planting and feed twice a year with a fertilizer specifically formulated for fynbos plants.

Serruria rosea can be propagated from cuttings or seed but cuttings have a much higher success rate than seeds.

Make cuttings from December to March (summer to autumn). The cuttings should be taken from the current season's growth and measure 30–70 mm long. Dip the cuttings into a rooting hormone solution or hormone powder and plant into a medium of 50% polystyrene and 50% finely milled bark. Place in a growing house with bottom heat (25ºC) and intermittent mist. Once the roots are well developed, remove from the mist unit and harden off for three weeks. Plant the cuttings into small bags and grow on until ready to plant into the garden.

Sow seed in April when the days are warm and the nights start to cool down (late summer to autumn). Give the seed a smoke treatment. Dust the seed with a systemic fungicide. Sow on a well-drained medium consisting of 1 part loam, 1 part bark, and 2 parts sand, firm down and cover with a layer of sand or finely milled bark. Seed can be sown in a seed tray placed in a sunny position. Germination begins after three to four weeks. Once two true leaves have grown, prick the seedlings out into small bags. Place the seedlings in a lightly shaded area with good air circulation. When plants are ± 50–100 mm tall, or after one year's growth, they can be planted into the garden. Nipping out the tips of the seedlings will encourage branching and produce a neater shrub.

The best time to place the young plants in the garden is just before the rainy season. This enables plants to establish themselves and send down deep roots before the hot, dry, summer season.
Distribution EDIT
Slanghoek to Franschhoek in the Hottentot Holland Mountains.

Spiderheads occur only in the winter rainfall fynbos region, from the Matsikamma Mountains in the north to the Cape Peninsula and to George in the east.

Serruria rosea is a fynbos species and is restricted to the Western Cape where it is endemic to Hawequas Sandstone Fynbos. The average rainfall for this vegetation type is 1197 mm per year with most rain falling in the winter months of June, July and August. In winter the temperature does occasionally drop below freezing, with S. rosea being able to tolerate very light frosts. In summer hot, dry and often windy conditions are experienced with maximum temperatures reaching 35°C. On the mountains it grows in dense isolated stands on sandy slopes at an altitude of between 300 and 620 m. Its natural distribution is from the Du Toitskloof to the Riviersonderend Mountains with an area of occurrence of about 51 km².
History EDIT
Uses EDIT
Ecology EDIT
Fynbos is a fire-driven system which means the vegetation requires fire once every 10–15 years to regenerate and rejuvenate itself.

Flowers are pollinated by honey bees and a variety of beetles. After pollination seeds are produced and released where they fall to the ground. The seed has a white waxy tip at its base; this is called an elaisome and is a favourite food of indigenous ants. Ants disperse the seeds by carrying them underground to their nests where they eat off the elaisome leaving the seed in safe storage hidden away from predators like mice. Fire moves through the fynbos in late summer killing all the mother plants of S. rosea. In early winter the rains begin and new seedlings germinate from the ant nests where they were safely protected from the fire.
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