Arctotheca calendula (L.) Levyns

Common Name : Cape dandelion (E), Cape weed
Family name : Asteraceae (Daisy Family)

Arctotheca calendulaThe Cape Dandelion is widespread and occurs in coastal areas or on disturbed soil the Western and Eastern Cape extending into Natal. There are about five species of Arctotheca in Southern Africa. In the Cape it is well known by its common name, the Cape weed.

The name Actotheca is derived from Greek word arktos meaning a bear, theke means a capsule or a case. The species name 'calendula' comes from a Greek word 'calendae' meaning the first day of the month.

This species is an annual herb or sprawling perennial growing up to 25cm high. The basal leaves form a rosette and are woolly above. They have deeply divided margins. The daisy-type flowers, up to 6cm, across are a striking yellow and are mostly pollinated by butterflies.

Growing Arctotheca calendula

It is a good ground cover, able to grow in any garden soil, although it is advisable to add plenty of compost. The Cape Dandelion grows best in full sun and requires a moderate amount of water. It is hardy to moderate frost. This plant spreads by means of runners. It is easily propagated by lifting rooted runners and planting them in planting bags or directly into the flower bed. It can also be propagated from seed.

This plant is a versatile ground cover that can be used in a garden for holding soil and for a colourful display.


  • Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J (2000) Cape Plants. Strelizia 9. National Botanical Institute : Cape Town.
  • Joffe, P. (1993) The Gardener's Guide to South African Plants. Tafelberg : Cape Town.
  • Le Roux, A. &.Schelpe, T. (1998) Namaqualand - South African Wild Flowers Guide. Botanical Society of South Africa : Cape Town.

Moeketsi S. Letsela & Sharon Turner
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
March 2002

To find out if SANBI has seed of this or other SA species, please email our seedroom.

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