The king protea is the national flower of South Africa.
The king protea has several color forms and horticulturists have recognized 81 garden varieties, some of which have injudiciously been planted in its natural range. In some varieties the pink of the flower and red borders of leaves are replaced by a creamy yellow. This unusual flower has a long vase life in flower arrangements and makes an excellent dried flower.
Protea cynaroides has adapted to survive wildfires by its thick underground stem, which contains many dormant buds; these will produce the new growth after the wildfire has subsided.