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Products > Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'
Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' - Wilson's Wonder Conebush
Image of Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Proteaceae (Proteas)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [Lcd. 'Bell's Sunrise']
Parentage: (Leucadendron laureolum x L. salignum)
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' (Wilson's Wonder Conebush) - A vigorous, dense and beautiful shrub that is typically seen to around 4 feet tall by 6 feet wide but with time can get up to 6 to 7 feet tall by at least 8 feet wide. The new grow flushes out red in late spring before greening up and in the fall appear the showy bract clusters, often on muli-headed stems, that start a bright yellow to cream color and then age to a strawberry red by mid winter into spring with bright yellow male cones in the center. As with most male cones cultivars the cone darkens to a dark gray and is less spectacular later for use in the vase, but the bracts and foliage continue to look very attractive for months and the shrub always looks presentable. Plant in full sun in a fairly well drained soil and irrigate infrequently. As with the cultivars 'Safari Sunset' and 'Red Gem' this is a tough cultivar that can handle frost, alkalinity and clay soils sol long and it should prove long lived so long as the soil drains well. It is excellent as a mid length stems cut flower for winter holiday season arrangements and makes for an attractive specimen plant or as a screen or even a formal hedge. It is also useful where a lower growing plant is required as it stays more compact and spreading compared to the upright 'Safari Sunrise'. Though the name 'Wilson's Wonder' is the one commonly used in the U.S. this plant's actual cultivar name is 'Bell's Sunrise' and it is under this name that the plant is registered as in The International Protea Register. It was a cross done in New Zealand between Leucadendron salignum and Ld. Laureolum that was introduced by Ian Bell. Bell started working in 1961 with his in-laws Wallace and Jean Stevens at their Stevens Brothers Nursery in Wanganui. Jean Stevens (1900-1967) is credited with starting the interest in Leucadendron for cut flowers and garden use in the early 1960s and was also a noted Iris hybridizer. She is credited with making the initial cross between Leucadendron salignum and Ld. Laureolum that resulted in the cultivar 'Red Gem' and then worked with Ian to create the most popular of all of the female flowering hybrids, 'Safari Sunset' and it was a male flowering plant from this same seedling group that was selected by Ian Bell and shared with Lewis Matthews, who named it in 1983 and included it in his book Proteas of the World (Matthews Publishing, 1983) with a beautiful water color illustration painted by Zoe Carter. It is not clear to us who renamed it this plant 'Wilson's Wonder' or who Wilson was. We continue to use the name 'Wilson's Wonder' instead of the actual cultivar name only because it seems to be the name commonly used in the California nursery trade.  This information is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of it in our nursery of crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we have visited. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder'.