Aulax umbellata, the broad-leaf featherbush is dioecious, which means that it bears male and female flowers on separate plants, unlike the proteas but similar to the leucadendrons. This one is a male flower which grows as a cluster of yellow racemes at the end of a branch. The flowers can be seen in summer in the fynbos on lower sandstone slopes of coastal mountains from False Bay to the southern Cape around Riversdale. Female flowers show flatter tops, umbels embedded in dense leaves, involucral bracts that on some plants develop a purplish leaf colour for the duration of the flowering period.
The plant is a sparsely branched shrub of up to 2 m with spatulate leaves. The fruits develop on the female plants. They are small hairy nuts that have a low percentage of fertile seeds. These fruits are retained on the plant for years. They are most likely to germinate after about two years, but may last in viable form on the plant as long as six years (www.plantzafrica.com).