Jamesonii – Barberton Daisy

The Gerbera jamesonii was discovered by Anton Rehmann in 1875 – 1880, but named in honour of Robert Jameson, who travelled in the Lowveld about 1885. He collected the plant at Moodies Estate, near Barberton. The epithet was proposed by Harry Bolus the curator of the botanical garden in Cape Town, but first published by Adlam 1888 and should be ascribed to him.

First Illustrations of the Barberton Daisy were published in the Gardener`s Chronicle in England in 1889.

The plant is described as follows: The roots are fascicled, whipcord-like, 1 –2,5 mm wide, the central part often reported as taproot-like. The crown is felted or villose. Several long-stalked spreading leaves, 15 to 42 cm long, in some cases up to 68 cm long and 4 to 14 cm wide.
The upper surface is dark green, the lower one waxy green, the leaves have very distinct ragged edges. The flowers grow on long single stems. and can reach a diameter of up to 75 mm in some cases even more. The colours vary from white to dark red with all variations in-between. The most prominent colour is orange-red. The pappus is creamy white to dirty white.

The plant is endemic to Mpumalanga and the Northern Province. Abundant in the Soutpansberg, on the slopes of the Makonjwa Mountains around Barberton, but also common in the districts of Witbank and Middleburg.

The Gerbera jamesonii grows from 500 to 1670 m above sea level in bushveld, on steep rocks with grass, on, dolomite soil, dolerite boulders and soil, stony clays, but also on burnt ground and other dry habitats, usually in some shade or under bushes and trees.

Flowering time is mainly from September to December, but it can be found flowering in any month of the year.

The common name is Barberton Daisy.

The Gerbera jamesinoii is easily recognised by the large, elegant capitula, the extremely large rays, and the large, pinnated, very longed stalked leaves. The species is the ancestor of all cultivated forms of Gerbera, or they originate from the cross Gerbera jamesonii/ Gerbera veridifolia, originally made by Irwin Lynch in Great Britain about 1890. The cross introduced a great variation-pattern, and already Dümmer (1914) could state a long list of cultivated hybrids. The rich colour-spectrum of the rays also in nature is indeed remarkable.

Gerbera jamensonii - First published drawing in the Gardener’s Cronicle in 1889

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