Proteus2On a recent trip to Maui I discovered a vast array of plant life we don’t normally encounter here in Oregon. One day we dragged ourselves away from the beach for a few hours and went “up country” to visit a farm in Kula. There we were delighted by a great variety of colors and textures in succulent plants and in several kinds of Protea.

The Protea family of flowers is named for the Greek God Proteus, who could change his appearance at will, because proteas come in such a wide variety of forms – there are over 1400 different types of proteas! While these flowers are native to South Africa and Australia, it turns out that they grow especially well in the Kula area on the island of Maui.

We marveled at their colors, textures and most of all at their differences. In fact, one of the things that makes the proteas most appealing is the fact that they grow together but do not look the same, one plant to the next. In fields, in baskets, in bouquets it is easy to find a great richness which is born out of the diversity of the family.

Proteus1Kind of like the human family. One protea – or one person – alone can be interesting and even quite lovely. But, when combined with others of different colors, textures, sizes, shapes, scents, feels, etc… well, you get the picture! An amazing richness is born out of the diversity of the family. An amazing richness whose value cannot be underestimated, and whose presence must be encouraged, protected and even advocated.

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