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Mimetes cucullatus – Wikipedia

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**Description and Characteristics:**
– Mimetes cucullatus is an evergreen shrub with upright stems, grey felty hair, scarlet-colored leaves, and tubular flowers.
– The inflorescence consists of cylindric flower heads with scarlet-colored leaves, containing four to seven flowers subtended by fiddle-shaped bracts.
– The perianth is 4-merous, with a style and ovary densely silky hairy.
– The species can reach heights of up to 2 meters and attracts pollinators like sunbirds.
– Different forms/varieties of M. cucullatus are recognized by botanists, with distinct differences from related species like M. fimbriifolius.

**Names and Distribution:**
– Commonly known as common pagoda, red pagoda, or stompie in English and Afrikaans.
– The Latin species name cucullātus means hooded, referring to the leaf shape, while the Afrikaans name rooistompie highlights the red color of new growth and leaves.
– Widely distributed from the Olifants River valley to the Cape Peninsula and east to the Langeberg range.
– Common along the coast between Hangklip and Bredasdorp, with isolated inland populations; historical distribution may have been larger but now limited to wetter areas due to drought.

**Ecology and Adaptations:**
– M. cucullatus is a resprouter after fire, with proteoid roots for nutrient uptake in low-nutrient soils.
– Adapted to bird pollination, with extrafloral nectaries attracting ants for defense and seed dispersal.
– Unlike other Mimetes species that are re-seeders, M. cucullatus has unique adaptations for survival and reproduction.

**Conservation and Cultivation:**
– Considered a species of least concern due to its large distribution and stable population.
– Popular with indigenous plant enthusiasts and wildlife gardeners, responding well to severe pruning and suitable for cut-flower arrangements.
– Suitable for rockeries and fynbos gardens, requiring minimal watering once established and vulnerable to root rot if overwatered.
– Propagation can be done through seeds or cuttings, with pruning recommended to maintain a compact shape.

**Habitat and Cultivation Requirements:**
– Found in the Western Cape of South Africa, specifically in mountain fynbos.
– Thrives in well-drained, acidic soils and requires full sunlight for optimal growth.
– Endemic to a specific region, making it a unique and specialized species in its habitat.
– Cultivation tips include pruning for shape maintenance, minimal watering once established, and the importance of well-drained soils for healthy growth.

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