July: Protea Moon

The King Protea (Protea cynaroides) is our National Flower. It is the largest of the protea flowers and is a truly spectacular sight. Its adaptation to overcome wildfires and regenerate its growth makes it the ideal symbol of the resilience of South African culture and national values.

Since the advent of full democracy in South Africa it has also become the name and emblem of the South African National Cricket Team.

The King Protea occurs almost exclusively on weathered Table Mountain sandstone and Witteberg quartzite. It flowers mainly between June and October but, depending on the location as well as the current and preceding weather conditions, it has been known to flower in any month of the year.

The first known dried sample of the plant to arrive in Europe went to a London pharmacist, James Petiver in 1698. He described it as “An artichoke-like shrub with stiff, somewhat rounded leaves from Table Mountain.” In 1705 Leonard Plukenet published the first known illustration and again compared it to the domestic artichoke, Cynara scolymus, calling it “The African tree-artichoke from Table Mountain”. Based on these descriptions Carl Linnaeus called it Protea cynaroides. The King Protea was one of the first South African plants introduced into Kew by Francis Masson in 1774 and the first time there is a record of it flowering outside South Africa, was in the gardens of the Earl of Coventry in February 1803.

Place names associated with proteas:

Protea Buttress is on Table Mountain 600 m from Maclear’s Beacon overlooking Newlands Forest in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality of the Western Cape Province .

Protea Heights is a residential area in Brackenfell in the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality of the Western Cape Province.

A Protea Moon in July is very scarce – during the period 2020–2050 it only happens once.

The first Full Moon in July is the Meerkat Moon.

Date of Protea Moon (2020–2050)

2034 Jul 31, 07:48

Further reading


  • Manning, J. (2007) Field Guide to Fynbos. Struik Publishers. pp 250.
  • Rourke, J.P. (1980) Die Proteas van Suider Afrika. Tafelberg-Uitgewers Beperk. pp 82-88.

Heritage Full Moons in South Africa

MonthFirst Full MoonSecond Full Moon
JanuaryMantis MoonLeopard Moon
FebruaryDassie Moon——
MarchHarvest MoonOchre Moon
AprilDiamond MoonGold Moon
MayFrost MoonFire Moon
JuneSisters MoonHoney Moon
JulyMeerkat MoonProtea Moon
AugustPeace MoonDusty Moon
SeptemberSpring MoonBlue Crane Moon
OctoberWhale MoonElephant Moon
NovemberMilk MoonWool Moon
DecemberSpringbok MoonEland Moon

Protecting South Africa’s astronomical heritage

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