The Ornamental Section of the International Society for Horticultural Science approved the formation of a Protea Working Group at a meeting in August 1983.   The International Protea Working Group (IPWG) was established at Stellenbosch in 1985 as a specialised group of the Ornamental Section of the International Society of Horticultural Scientists.

It was agreed that the word “Protea” encompasses genera of the Proteaceae family such as Protea, Leucospermum, Leucadendron, Orothamnus, Paranomus, Mimetes and Serruria from South Africa.  Also included are many Australian genera such as:  Adenanthos, Conospermum, Isopogon, Petrophila, Banksia, Grevillea, Hakea, Lamberta and Telopea.

The first joint meeting between protea growers and researchers was held in 1986. Growers were represented by the International Protea Association (IPA) and researchers by the International Protea Working Group (IPWG).  Since this first joint meeting, communication between growers and researchers has continued, with the publication of 9 Acta Horticulturae reporting proceedings of IPWG symposia.

“The International Society for Horticultural Science – in short ISHS – has over 7,000 Individual Members from all over the world, a substantial number of Institutional Members and some 50 Member States/Countries. It is a major source of up-to-date information on global horticultural research. ISHS aims to promote research in all branches of horticulture. It encourages the development of international co-operation, bringing together scientific and technical professionals to stimulate, facilitate and co-ordinate research and scientific activities on a global scale.”

The aim of the ISHS is “…to promote and encourage research and education in all branches of horticultural science and to facilitate cooperation and knowledge transfer on a global scale through its symposia and congresses, publications and scientific structure.” Membership is open to all interested researchers, educators, students and horticultural industry professionals.”