The Protea was named after the Greek sea God Proteus who could change his form at will.
Proteas are ancient.
They belong to that time in the ancient history of our world called Gondwana - some 300 million years ago. Gondwanaland is the name given to the the great Southern super-continent that broke off from the northern land mass- Laurasia.
It includes the all the continents of the Southern hemisphere plus Arabia and the Indian continent.
Proteas can be found in hundreds of different forms throughout these regions. The Australian family of protea is named Grevilleoideae and is the same family as the banksia, grevillia and warratahs.
But I just call mine Farmers' Market Proteas.