Gazania rigida

(Burm.f.) Roessler

Family : Asteraceae
Common name: Karoo gazania

Gazania rigida in flower

This hardy gazania is not easy to miss during late winter to early summer when as it colours the landscape in bright splashes of orange and yellow.

This stemless perennial grows to 20-25 cm high. The leaves are pinnatisect (divided down to the midrib) with lobes which vary from elliptic to often being linear-oblanceolate (very narrow to inversely lance-shaped). The underside of the leaves is white-felted. Leaf - margins are revolute (rolled back).

Gazania rigida leaves

The yellow or orange flowerheads are 35-45 mm across and the rays usually have a dark area at the base, forming a dark ring inside the flowerhead. The involucre (the bracts surrounding the flowerhead) is coarsely hairy and the inner bracts are acute. Flowering is from July to November.

Conservation status
Gazania rigida has a status of Least Concern (LC) (Raimondo et al. ( 2009).

Distribution and habitat
Gazana rigida is widespread on flats and lower slopes from Namaqualand, the Western Karoo to the Caledon area and also from Riversdale to Humansdorp.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus Gazania is named after Theodore of Gaza (13981478) who translated Theophrastus' botanical works from Greek into Latin. The specific epithet rigida means rigid and probably refers to the stiff leaves. The genus Gazania consists of about 17 species occurring mainly in Namibia and South Africa.

The bright yellow or orange flower head s of Gazania rigida are visited by many insects which aid with pollination.

Uses and cultural aspects
None recorded. This species is a very interesting garden - subject, though.

In flower

Growing Gazania rigida

Sow the seed during autumn in a well-draining medium. Level the medium and then sow the light seeds evenly, water gently and cover with a thin layer of sand or bark. The seed s will germinate within two to three weeks.

The seedlings are ready to be potted as soon as they are it is large enough to handle. These potted seedlings will initially need a sheltered position, like a shade net, and can be gradually be introduced to full sun.

Gazania rigida needs full sun and ample drainage. Plant it as a border - plant, used an en masse as a groundcover planting, in rockeries or as a pot - subject.

In its natural environment the Karoo gazania is found to grow with a variety of species such as Berkheya glabrata, Sparaxis pillansii, Heliophila spp., Lampranthus haworthii, Drosanthemum latipetaluma, Dimorphotheca sinuata, Cotula barbata, and Senecio cakeiliefolius.

References and further reading

    • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape Plants. A conspectus of the Cape flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria & Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri.
    • Manning, J. & Goldblatt, P. 1997. Nieuwoudtville . South African Wild Flower Guide 9. Botanical Society of South Africa, Cape Town.
    • Raimondo, D.,Von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. & Manyama, P.A. (eds). Red List of South African plants 2009. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
    • Stearn, W. 2002. Stearn's dictionary of plant names for gardeners. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

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Roger Oliver

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

September 2013

To find out if SANBI has seed of this or other SA species, please email our seedroom.
This page forms part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website