Protea Ayoba Arctic Ice – A Rare and Regal Floral Masterpiece

Staff
10 Min Read

South Africa is a country quite unlike many when it comes to its wide range of native flora. Different varieties of fynbos, proteas, and many others are native plants to this region. Even so, one of the most distinctive such plants is the Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice. This flowering plant is a true marvel that fascinates, just as much as it intrigues. It is registered under the Ayoba® brand of breeder Future Fynbos, which specializes in the development of an exclusive range of new and improved varieties of fynbos products, ensuring that the country benefits from its wealth of native plant resources.

A magnificent flower in all aspects, the exquisite Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice draws the inspiration for its name from the Arctic Sea Ice found at the North Pole, with its pure white color being reminiscent of the icy landscapes. It is, perhaps, the purity of this color, plus its rareness that has guaranteed that the Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice captures and continues to enchant the hearts of flower enthusiasts worldwide. 

Breeder Future Fynbos and Its Ayoba® Brand

Since its establishment in 2002, Future Fynbos has been dedicated to developing and enhancing the indigenous floral heritage of South Africa. 

 

Future Fynbos’ Ayoba® Arctic Ice grown at Cape Mountain Flora.
Photo by @capemountainflora

 

Identifying the potential that these flowering plants hold – either as cut flowers or pot plants – the breeder set out to develop new and improved varieties, and also assess their cultivar development and commercialization, as well as the management of Intellectual Property Rights.

With a main focus on the Fynbos genera, such as Leucadendron, Protea, Leucospermum, and other fynbos types, Future Fynbos has thus far made significant developments in the breeding these plants, with the key mission of bringing forth new and improved varieties that contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the local floral industry globally.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Future Fynbos’ Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice.
Photo by @ayobaflowers

 

Future Fynbos:

“Ayoba® is the product trademark of Future Fynbos Pty (Ltd). As a company, we pride ourselves in exploring and protecting South African indigenous floriculture. The growth of an industry is dependent on the release of new commercial varieties. Proteas and Fynbos have a long history of amazing people with their variety of colors, shapes, and characteristics.”

Just so you know, Ayoba is a term that carries South African flair. It is a slang word expressing amazement and delight and encapsulates the spirit of awesomeness, which is exactly what the Ayoba flowers are. They are just awesome!

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice from breeder Future Fynbos.
Photo by @zuluflora

 

Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice, a Botanical Masterpiece

A magnificent white Protea Cynaroides, Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice is the largest protea in the Proteaceae family, and just like its name implies, it represents botanical royalty – the King of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Quite like the shape-shifting Greek god Proteus for whom this family is named, this species comes in many shapes, colors, and sizes. But the whites are much rarer than the rest.

As previously noted, Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice is an uncommon white King Protea and is named after the Arctic Sea Ice found at the North Pole which sits in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Here the water is almost always covered with ice which is two or three meters thick giving it its pure white color. The flower’s color is also pure white reminiscent of the icy landscapes.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @capemountainflora

 

It has been produced commercially in South Africa for the past 10 years, where volumes started out small; with the first commercial production of 3.5 hectares in 2014. The size has now grown to approximately 45 hectares of this variety planted. 

Cultivating Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice

Growers of Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice are very persevering, and patient as it takes longer than 24 months, from pruning to harvesting a flower. The plants are also not very high-yielding with a maximum of 10 flowers being produced per mature plant. 

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @ayobaflowers

 

All the same, it’s worth mentioning that growing the Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice is not without its challenges. The plants are exposed to various threats in the open field, necessitating protective measures. To maintain the exceptional quality required by the Ayoba® brand, the flowers have to be shielded from adverse weather conditions. 

Since the flowers are white, any damage caused by wind, hail, frost, or birds can adversely affect their quality. Furthermore, stringent quality standards and picking stages are enforced to ensure that only the finest products reach the markets including the Dutch Flower Auction, as well as directly through agents.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @ems_emporium

 

Even so, the Future Fynbos-managed Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice, which is characterized by its rarity still remains really sought-after due to its charm. The production of this extraordinary flower requires careful planning and care.

A total of 250,000 stems are estimated to be produced annually. And while their harvesting takes place year-round, there are two distinct flowering peaks. The first peak occurs from April to June, while the second one commences in September and closes by mid-October.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @mary.duncan.pomona

 

Taking Care of Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice

For those lucky enough to possess the stunning Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice, proper care and handling are essential to preserve its beauty. These delicate flowers are prone to bruising, so gentle handling is crucial. With proper care, they can last for approximately 10 days and can also be dried for their long-lasting delight. 

Re-cutting the stems and placing them in fresh water, preferably with cut flower food, enhances their longevity. For this purpose, Future Fynbos recommends using universal flower food options such as Florissant 830, Chrysal 40/40 or Professional 3, and Floralife Express 300. 

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
A bouquet with the Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice.
Photo by @ayobaflowers

 

Even so, always use clean vases and clean water for the flowers, and make sure there are no leaves under water. Remove any black leaves. Also, do not display them in areas that are exposed to full sun, draughts, or high temperatures, and keep them as cool as possible.

In addition, regular monitoring of water levels and if not using cut flower food, changing the water at least every second day, are important steps to follow for the flower’s longevity and freshness.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @zuluflora

 

Ayoba®, a Southern African Floral Heritage

The Southern Africa region boasts of more than 9,000 fynbos species and 6,200 of these are endemic to the Cape Floristic Region. This floral diversity has supported a strong drive towards commercial indigenous floriculture. 

Possessing one of the richest biodiversity in the world, South Africa is a country whose cut flowers have made a substantial contribution to the world trade of floriculture and continue to do so. Fynbos, for instance, is now grown globally in more than ten countries. 

The Ayoba® brand registered to the breeding company Future Fynbos, therefore, ensures that the country benefits from this valuable resource by managing products that are protected by license agreements and Plant Breeders’ Rights.

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Photo by @ayobaflowers

 

Future Fynbos:

“Licensed growers (such as Cape Mountain Flora) are carefully selected in different growing regions to extend the season of availability. This is done through our network of producers in different production locations in South Africa and Internationally. Our nineteen licensed growers are dedicated and experienced to grow the best quality flowers. The Ayoba® brand relies on a quality product being packed into every box. Quality standards are set and communicated to growers and agents.”

Notably, however, as a difficult crop to grow, it is important that the Ayoba’s commercial cut flower growers work together, and also partner with the breeder to test the potential of new varieties. And also that scientific knowledge is shared to optimize all aspects of growing the products as well as their post-harvest routines. 

 

Future Fynbos' Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice
Protea Ayoba® Arctic Ice buds
Photo by @ayobaflowers

 

In this regard, Future Fynbos constantly explores more innovations to better its products so that only quality flowers get to the final consumer.

 

Feature image by @zuluflora, and header image by @zuluflora.

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