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Among the oldest families of flowers on earth, dating back 300 million years, Greek legend tells us that protea were named after Proteus, the son of Poseidon. A sea god who had the power to know all things past, present and future, Proteus was defiant and preferred to nap on the island of Pharos rather than prophesize. To deter those seeking his insights, he would change his shape at will, and it's said that the protea flower was named after him because it, too, presents itself in an astounding variety of shapes, sizes, hues and textures to make up more than 1,400 varieties.
With its mythological associations to change and transformation, it’s not surprising that in the language of flowers, protea symbolizes diversity and courage.