Protea nitida (Shaving brush tree)
Species: P. nitida
Binomial name: Protea nitida
Common name: Shaving brush tree, Sugarbush, Wagon tree, Waboom, Blousuikerbos,
Protea nitida is a large, slow-growing, frost hardy Protea is endemic to South Africa. Is the biggest of all Protea species growing up to 5-10m high and with a diameter of >1m. It varies considerably in height. It is one of the few Proteas that grow into trees, and the only one that has usable timber. In Africa the wood has been used for furniture due to its reddish colour and beautiful grain also it was used extensively for charcoal. The wood was even used to make wagon wheel rims and brake blocks.
It forms a gnarled multi-trunk with very thick white-grey bark. The bark has a history of use for tanning leather and even was used as a medicine for diarrhea. Its leaves were used to make a black ink and dye.
The glaucous foliage is a bluish, sea-green colour in later life. Young foliage may be pinkish-red in colour.
Large, bisexual flower heads appear all through the year, especially in winter. The yellowish-green flowers that tend to become untidy as they develop. The tree holds onto old flowers as they slowly disintegrate. After about 1 year the seeds start being released into the wind.