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Monday, January 6, 2014

Gazania Splendidissima

Family Asteraceae
Description
Gazania splendidissima is a perennial subshrub to 200 mm tall with woody prostrate branches. Leaves clustered at branch tips, simple to pinnatilobed, semi-succulent, greyish on upper surface, white felted-araneose (cobwebby) beneath. Flower heads 40–65 mm in diam., radiate, solitary, involucre with 2 or 3 rows of bracts inserted on the rim, connate area densely mealy with numerous bristle-like hairs, maculate due to black colour of the hair base and surrounding involucre. Ray florets neuter, 12 to 21; lamina 15–30 mm long, golden-yellow to orange, basally marked with black adaxially. Disc florets bisexual, numerous, yellow. Fruits narrowly obovate, hairy, crowned with a biseriate (in two rows) pappus of scales.
Flowering time: August–October.
Conservation status
The species is currently listed as Vulnerable (Magee et al. 2011). The coastal habitat to which Gazania splendidissima is endemic is threatened by coastal diamond mining and disturbance caused by vehicles. However, the populations appear to recruit readily from seeds so that young plants and seedlings are regularly encountered (L. Mucina pers. obs.).
 Distribution and habitat
Gazania spendidissima is endemic to a narrow strip of the west coast between Port Nolloth and Hondeklipbaai in the Northern Cape Province.
Ecology
The plants grow in deep sands where they are at risk of being buried. They are usually found between the upper beach and adjacent coastal dune systems, receiving some salt spray during stormy and windy weather. They can be distinguished from the other species of Gazania Gaertn. by the subshrubby growth habit, the semi-succulent leaves which are greyish on the upper surface, and in particular the prominently maculate involucre formed by the bristle-like hairs with black bases.
 Info: http://www.plantzafrica.com