Common names: red sugarbush, red protea (Eng.); rooisuikerbos,
This is a very slow growing fynbos shrub that produces excellent, long lasting, red flowerheads, beautiful for garden display and as a cut flower, and with its broad blue-green leaves, it makes a perfect shrub for the fynbos garden.
Protea grandiceps is an evergreen, compact, rounded shrub that grows about 2 m high and 2–3 m wide, with a single main trunk. Branches are stout, hairless, with brown bark when mature. The leaves are ovate to obovate, 80–130 mm long and 30–85 mm wide, curved, hairless, with rounded tips and a wavy margin, pointing upwards and lightly compact on the new growth, with a single, very visible, primary vein in each leaf. The leaves are blue-green with reddish margins.
This shrub produces broadly oblong flowerheads which are 100–140 mm long and 60–80 mm in diameter. The immature flowerheads are ovate while the involucral bracts are closed, and become oblong as they mature, and the involucral bracts open. It produces attractive flowerheads with brick-red involucral bracts that are heavily bearded with a thick fringe of hairs, about 10–15 mm long; these hairs are shorter on the lower or outer involucral bracts and longer on the upper or inner involucral bracts. The colour of the hairs of the beard ranges from brown to pure white or maroon, depending on where the species is growing naturally. Male and female elements are carried in the same flowers; the female consist of the stigma and pollen presenter, style and ovary, and the male consists of stamens and anthers. The style is about 65–75 mm long positioned inside the cup of involucral bracts, and covered by hairs. The pollen presenter is exposed at the tip of the style. Protea grandiceps begins to flower in spring, from September, and produces flowerheads abundantly until mid-summer, December to January.