2 Gazania rigens

Gazania rigens.

The Common or Coastal gazania is the type species for the genus.
Naturalised in Australia its cultivars are common garden plants and a weed in some areas.
In horticulture is can be seen as Gazania splendens hort.

These perennial herbs grow from a rhizome that is commonly horizontal then erect.
Rhizomes root at the nodes forming dense clumps along the ground or trailing.

The alternate leaves are clustered at the base.
The base of the blade runs down the short smooth petiole as narrow wings.
The linear to narrowly oblanceolate or spoon-shaped (spathulate) leaves sometimes have up to 5 blunt lobes.
Leaves are 3 to 10 (12 to 15) cm long and 0.5 to around 2 cm wide.
The edges of the green to blue-green blades roll under.
The upper surface is smooth or has a few long cobweb-like hairs.
The lower surface has a smooth green midrib but the rest is densely covered in matted white hairs.
Dead leaves fall off.

The solitary terminal heads or capitula are on a peduncle from 4 to 20 (30) cm tall.
Peduncles can be smooth, have a few cobwed-like hairs or sometimes small bracts.
Heads are up to 5 or 6 cm across when fully open but unless in bright sun they are only partly open.
The narrow bell-shaped involucre has 2 or 3 rows of bracts up to 1.5 cm long.
The lower two thirds of the bracts are fused and the shorter pointed lobes have sharp teeth on the edges.
The outer bracts often have matted hairs and the longer inner ones have no or just a few hairs.
The thin receptacle has a pitted surface where the florets attach.

The single row of peripheral ray florets have a short tube and a ligule around 2.5 cm long.
The narrow oblanceolate to elliptic ligules are yellow to orange with a black base that usually has a white spot on it.
The numerous disk florets, around 5 mm long have a yellow or orange corolla tube with 5 pointed lobes.
The ray florets are neuter and the disk bisexual.

Strictly speaking the fruit are cypselae (from an inferior ovary) but commonly called achenes.
The other flower parts remain and are surrounded by the pappus.
The pappus consists of 2 rows of scales attached, on the outer surface at the junction of the corolla tube and the hairy inferior ovary.
The scales, around to 3 to 4 mm long are difficult to as see they are hidden by the dense silky hairs on the ovary wall.

There are 3 varieties:
G. rigens var. leucolaena, the Trailing gazanias have grey-white leaves and yellow ray florets that usually have no dark basal spot.
G. rigens var. rigens, the Clumping gazania has flower heads up to 8 cm across with dark basal eye-spots on the yellow, orange (white) ray florets.
G. rigens var. uniflora has smooth green leaves and yellow ray florets with no basal spot.

Single or double cultivars come with ray florets in a large range of colours, colour combinations and patterns.

No true species plants seen but many of the features described above are illustrated on the Gazania genus page.