So named for its leaves, which are covered with fine silvery hairs.
The tree Leucadendron argenteum of the Proteaceae, indigenous to the Western Cape; silver-leaf tree, see silver-leaf sense a; witteboom. Also attributive.
1731G. Medleytr. ofP. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H.II. 224Argyrodendros Africana..i.e. The Silver Tree. These trees are seen equally in the Vallies and on the Hills in the Cape-Countries. They are, particularly, much seen about Constantia. The Fruit is conical, like that of the Pine-Tree.
1786G. Forster inA. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H.I. 32The protea argentea, or the silver-tree, as it is called, exhibited the whole year through its glossy white, or silver gray leaves.
1795C.R. Hopsontr. ofC.P. Thunberg’s Trav.I. 116The seed-vessels of the silver-tree (protea argentea) serve for fuel.
1804R. PercivalAcct of Cape of G.H. 142To add to the beauty of this place (sc. Constantia) there are groves of the silver-tree planted all round...The leaves of the colour of that metal..are as rich as satin to the touch. They may indeed be said to be every way similar to a grayish or bluish pearl-coloured plush velvet.
a1823J. EwartJrnl (1970) 22The most striking object in botany..is the Silver-Tree (Protea Argentea) which is seen exuberantly clothing the least-rugged part of the Table Mountain (to which it is indigenous)..with its downy and silver color’d foliage.
1832C.S. StewartVisit to S. Seas in U.S. Ship Vincennes 1829–30II. 325The approach to the gate is through a grove of the silver tree, protea argentea, affording us full proof of the appropriateness of the name. The long-pointed leaves are thickly set on the branches..covered with a fine white furze or down.
1857D. LivingstoneMissionary Trav. 283A species of silver-tree of the Cape (Leucodendron argenteum) is found in abundance in these parts through which we have travelled.
1890A. MartinHome Life 10The silver tree..is found only on Table Mountain. The long, pointed leaves seem made of the glossiest pale-grey satin.
c1911S. PlayneCape Col. 49The well-known Silver Trees, so called from the silvery appearance of their leaves, are only common to the Cape Peninsula.
c1933J. Juta inA.C. PartridgeLives, Lett. & Diaries (1971) 151The silver tree — the ‘witteboomen’ — circled the hilltop with a pointed crown of glistening silver.
1947L.G. GreenTavern of Seas 119Mercifully the silver trees were not seriously affected by the fire. Nowhere else in the world do these gracious and remarkable trees thrive as on Table Mountain, their stronghold and native home.
1961Palmer & PitmanTrees of S. Afr. 218The silver tree of the Cape Peninsula, both in shape and colour, is one of the loveliest of our wild trees...Its silver foliage makes it a conspicuous sight on the slopes of Table Mountain, where, hardier than its neighbours, it often stands in windy, dry positions.
1963R. LewcockEarly 19th C. Archit. 79A framework of Silvertree poles with infilling panels of nine-inch sunburnt brick.
1978Daily Dispatch 25 Jan. 10The beautiful Silvertree (Leucadendron argenteum)..has been selected as the provincial tree of the Cape Province.
1989Your Gardening Questions Answered (Reader’s Digest Assoc.) 352Leucadendron argenteum (Silver tree). Famous indigenous tree with blue-green, oval, pointed leaves covered with silky, silvery hairs. The male plants produce orange flower heads in summer — the female plants bear silvery cones.
1993Earthyear Winter (Earthling) 27Table Mountain is unique...Some of the plants, such as..the silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum) grow nowhere else in the world.
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