Characteristics of the Gerbera linnaei:
Roots 1.5-3 mm wide. Leaves 10-30 cm long, 0.8-2 cm wide. Petiole 2.5-10 cm long, 1-2 mm wide, up to 7 mm at the very base, densely cobwebby pilose-villose, later pilose to glabrous. Blade 5.5-19.5 cm long, lanceolate in outline, pinnatifid or deeply pinnatisect; lobes quadrate to rounded, sometimes oblique, quite often with an even, oblique apical part and a rounded basal part, terminallobe triangular or sagittate, lobes becoming rudimentary towards the base. Margin wavy, not typically crenate-toothed, but often with the wavy lamina drawn out into a few small triangles resembling teeth, glabrous to pilose. Upper surface dark green or more dull, shiny, glabrous or sparsely light pilose-villose, sometimes wrinkled; lower surface persistently yellow-brownish or greyish-brownish tomentose.
Scapes 1-3, 11-54 (-69) cm long, 1.5-5 mm wide, thinly light brownish felted-tomentose. Involucral bracts 3-24 mm long, 1.5-5 mm wide, hairy as on the scapes. Heads 15-26 mm long, 20-37 mm wide. Ray florets white or white above, purple-maroon or reddish to reddish-brownish below, in two cases reported as yellow; tube 4-5 mm long, lower limb 10-30 mm long, 2-6 mm wide, upper limb 3-5 mm long, the free part of the style 3-5 mm long. Disc florets dark in colour, tube 5.5-7 mm long, limbs 2-3.5 mm long. Mature achenes only seen twice, 7-8 mm long, elliptic ovoid, un beaked or with a beak 1 (-2) mm long. Pappus whitish to whitish-tawny, almost always more or less deep brownish tinged in the apical part of the bristles.
Ecology: On slopes, in stony places and sandy soil, usually on recently burnt ground.
Flowering season: Aug.-Jan. One report from May.
The Gerbera linnaei -species is in several aspects remarkable. The pinnatifid leaves strikingly resemble fern leaves of the genera Asplenium or Ceterach, an interesting case of convergent evolution. This probably is the reason why several collections are sterile. Another outstanding character is the brownish tinged pappus bristles; this has not so far been found in any other species of the genus or the whole scapose group of Mutisiinae. Also the glabrous involucral bracts are remarkable; elsewhere in the genus at least the lower (outer) bracts are hairy on the outside. Yellow rays were not expected to be found in the section. (see also under G. Tomentosa).
Hybridization of Gerbera linnaei with G. crocea and perhaps other species is probable.
Source: Opera Botanica 781985
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