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Gazania is a flowering plant genus endemic to Southern Africa that belongs to the Asteraceae family.
Throughout the summer, they produce huge, daisy-like composite flowerheads in beautiful colors of yellow and orange. They’re commonly used as a drought-resistant groundcover.
In the second volume of his monumental book De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum, German botanist Joseph Gaertner properly defined the genus for the first time in 1791. The genus was named after Theodorus Gaza, a 15th-century translator of Theophrastus’ writings.
Gazania belongs to the Arctotideae tribe and the Gorteriinae subtribe. It is close to Hirpicium and Gorteria within the subtribe. Many Gazania species are difficult to discern, and the number of species attributed to the genus has changed greatly across authors.
Helmut Roessler presented what he thought was an early revision of Gazania in 1959. He recognized 16 species at the time. In 1973, Roessler published several changes to his therapy.
A phylogeny of the genus was reported in 2009. It was based on a phylogenetic examination of chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences using molecular techniques. Except for Gazania othonnites, all of Roessler’s species were sampled in this research. The researchers discovered that eight species were not truly distinct, but rather formed a species complex. G. jurineifolia, G. caespitosa, G. ciliaris, G. tenuifolia, G. heterochaeta, G. schenckii, and G. lichtensteinii were the seven species confirmed to be distinct.
In South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Angola, the species may be found in low-altitude dunes to alpine meadows. In South Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and California, species have become naturalized and proclaimed weeds.
Gazania species are planted for the beautiful color of their flowerheads, which begin in late spring and continue to bloom far into the summer and autumn. They prefer to be in the sun and are tolerant of dry conditions and poor soil.
Several cultivars have been chosen for their color and habit diversity. They are commonly cultivated as half-hardy annuals in temperate climates. The trailing gazania is a popular variation (Gazania rigens var. leucolaena). It is often used as a groundcover and, because to its rapid growth rate, may be planted in great numbers to cover vast areas or embankments. ‘Sunburst,’ ‘Sunglow,’ and ‘Sunrise Yellow’ are cultivars of this variety. The clumping gazania (Gazania rigens) is another popular cultivated species with a number of named cultivars such as ‘Aztec,’ ‘Burgundy,’ ‘Copper King,’ ‘Fiesta Red,’Goldrush,’ and ‘Moonglow.’