The Brunia shrub: it grows up to two metres tall with deep green foliage that resembles that of a pine tree. So far, so tall and prickly. The Brunia also flowers in a quite unusual way - one that adds a certain discerning edge to a statement bouquet. One that separates the connoisseurs from the carnations, so to speak.

In fact these natural beauties are sometimes mistaken for being anything but natural upon first glance, so sci-fi-alien do they appear. Tightly clustered baubles of grey and white tones, bobbing mysteriously atop hardy stems, they are not in fact mysterious orbs sent down by an advanced humanoid civilisation but rather the fruited heads that are left once the fluffy white petals have fallen off. 

Brunia are native to South Africa and actually range in colour from silver to green and red. The muted silver variety (Brunia Noriflora) is the most prized, as any arranger of wedding flowers will attest to, which is kind of refreshing: John Pawson minimalism over garish colours.