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Gazania sp. Gaertn. 1791
pronounced: gay-ZAY-nee-uh species
(Asteraceae – the daisy family)
common name: Gazania
These are low-growing perennials from South Africa. Their silvery-green leaves are usually long and narrow, and are often lobed. They have bright, colourful flowers in white, cream, yellow, red and brown, often with contrasting bands or spots. The main flowering period is spring and early summer, but they flower at other times of the year as well.
Gazanias grow in most areas of Australia. They are often used in coastal erosion control on sloping land, for urban landscaping, and in low-maintenance and water-wise gardens. They can be propagated by seed, by soft-tip cuttings all the year round, or in the cooler months by division of established plants.
The genus was first described by the German botanist Joseph Gaertner in the second volume of his major work De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum† in 1791. Many of the species are difficult to distinguish, and the number of species assigned to the genus varies widely from author to author. Many hybrids have been developed in cultivation, which also adds to the difficulty of identification. The plant with the orange flower photographed is probably one of these hybrids, but may possibly be Gazania rigens, which has become naturalized on coastal dunes from southern Sydney to the central coast of NSW, on the Eyre Peninsula and the southern Mount Lofty region of South Australia, and in the Moreton region of south-east Queensland.
Gazanias grow in rosette form; the leaves are cauline, clustered, elliptic to narrow-oblanceolate, irregularly pinnatisect, 4–10 cm long, 5–40 mm wide, narrowing towards the sheathing base; the upper surface is green and glabrous, the lower surface white-tomentose with a green midrib.
The peduncles are axillary, erect, 8–20 cm long, glabrous; the heads 10–15 mm in diameter; the ray florets elliptic to oblanceolate, 3–5 cm long, bright orange to deep yellow; the disk florets orange-yellow.
The plants will tolerate high winds and first line salt wind, and even a light frost. They make a useful ground cover in sunny, dry areas, or in rock gardens.
† Concerning the Fruits and Seeds of Plants
Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2010-2014
Page last updated 6th December 2016