The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) probably the best know protea of all the different species and its very hard to not to see why. The King Protea is also South Africa's National Flower and has pride of place on the chest of all sportsmen (and women) who represent the country.
The King Protea is one of the widest distributed of the Protea species and occur all the way from the Cederberg into the Eastern Cape east of Port Elizabeth. The flowers grow on a woody shrub that normally grows about one meters high, but this can vary depending in the environment it grows in.
The King Protea is beautiful right from the time its a flower bud through to when it dries up. The flower bud of the King Protea looks very similar to the globe artichoke vegetable. The Latin name of the artichoke is Cynara scolymus and this lead to the botanist Linnaeus to give the species the name Protea cynaroides.
For more information on the King Protea or any other South African flowers, I find the PlantZAfrica website very useful.