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Red Pagoda Bush / Rooistompie

Mimetes calcullatus


Mimetes cucullatus is a multi-stemmed, densely-leaved shrub, 0.5 to 2 m tall with an upright, bushy growth habit. The leaves are oblong-elliptic, 25-55 mm long and are neatly and symmetrically arranged along the branches. New growth is bright red. The unusual flowerheads of Mimetes distinguish this genus from the other members of the protea family. All members of the protea family have small flowers grouped in conspicuous flowerheads. The individual flowers are tubular and have a perianth made up of four perianth segments, sometimes three are fused and one is free. When in bud, the segments touch each other but don't overlap, and as the flower opens they separate and curl back to expose the style. Anthers close up The tip of each perianth segment is slightly widened and has a depression in which a single anther rests. The pollen that it sheds sticks to the top portion of the style, called the pollen presenter. The stigma is a small groove at the tip of the style, and self-pollination is prevented because the stigma is not receptive when its own pollen is being produced. At the base of the flower, inside the perianth tube, are four scale-like nectaries and a minute superior ovary, which produces a dry nut-like fruit. In Mimetes the flowers are grouped into small dense cylindrical inflorescences of 3-16 florets produced in the axil of a leaf, and up to 15 of these cylindrical inflorescences can occur on one flowering stem. Close up of flowerheadLooking at Mimetes cucullatus we see wool-like tufts sticking out from between brightly coloured leaves towards the tips of the branches. Each 'tuft' is a group of 4-7 florets, the cylindrical inflorescence, and each inflorescence is produced directly below a leaf, which in this species partly encloses the inflorescence, like a hood. The actual inflorescence is not particularly showy, but the whole flowering stem is very colourful: the leaves that enclose the inflorescences are red at the tip, shading to a bright yellow and then into bright green. The creamy white 'tufts' are actually the bearded tips of the thread-like perianth segments and hold the anthers; and the styles are dark red, tipped with yellow and rear up right underneath the red hood-like leaf. Flowers are produced nearly all year round, but the peak flowering season is from early spring to late summer-autumn (August to March). Seeds are released 2-6 months after flowering. (From


Mimetes cucullatus is not threatened and is the most widespread of all the mimetes. It is found on sandy soils, on sandstone slopes and flats, most frequently on the cool, moist, south-facing slopes and damp flats. It occurs from the Koue Bokkeveld Mountains to Kogelberg to Elim Flats, Caledon Swartberg, Cape Peninsula ; Potberg; Riviersonderend Mountains , eastern Langeberg to Outeniqua and Kouga Mountains ; Klein Swartberg and Rooiberg. It grows from sea level to 1 200 m. All the other species of Mimetes occur in small areas and are mostly classified as rare, and one species, M. stokoei is extinct. It could be the resprouting strategy of M. cucullatus that makes it so much more successful than its relatives. (From

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Johan Heyns
Spotted by
Johan Heyns

Overstrand Local Municipality, Western Cape, South Africa

Lat: -34.40, Long: 19.28

Spotted on Dec 21, 2013
Submitted on Dec 21, 2013

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