Leucospermum cordifolium belongs to the protea family and is indigenous to South Africa. It grows in acid, nutrient poor soils in a fairly small area in the South Western Cape, from the Kogelberg to the Soetanysberg near Bredasdorp. It is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and occurs only in the winter rainfall area with its wet winters from May to September and hot, dry summers from December to the end of February.
The inflorescences consist of a large number of small flowers. It is the stiff protruding styles of the flowers which are the source of the common name "pincushion" for this genus. Only a few large, hard, nut-like seeds are produced by each inflorescence. In their natural environment the seeds are collected by ants, stored in the soil, and germinate only after a fire has killed the mature plants and returned the nutrients back to the soil.