This striking groundcover is a delightful perennial with masses of large white daisy flowers throughout summer. It forms small clumps (±5 cm x 12 cm) of attractive lush green leaves. The leaves are linear (long and narrow with nearly parallel sides) with occasional irregular blunt teeth on the margins. The leaves and stems are covered with small white hairs.
The flowers are held erect above the leaves, a single daisy at the tip of a long, strong, flowering stem. The petals are pure white, almost shiny, above and mauve with blue lines beneath. The disc-florets, in the centre of the flower are tipped with black and open to bright yellow. Each flower lasts for a few days and remains open during the evenings and on cloudy days. Flowering starts in spring (August) and continues through to autumn (March). This lovely plant was collected in the Drakensberg where it grows in the rocky grasslands along the mountain slopes.
Growing Dimorphotheca jucundum 'White Moon'
Dimorphotheca jucundum 'White Moon' is a must have for every garden and especially for gardeners that love white flowers. It is easy to grow forming a tight, neat green carpet decorated with many pure white flowers throughout the summer. It must be planted in full sun and in fertile, well-composted soil where it receives regular watering throughout the year. Dimorphotheca jucundum 'White Moon' is most effective when planted in groups of at least 3 to 5 plants. At Kirstenbosch it is planted en masse to fill the gaps after the spring annuals have finished flowering, in small groups in the herbaceous borders and as a groundcover along the edges of paths. The dark green foliage contrasts beautifully with silver or grey foliage such as that of Plecostachys serpyllifolia. For an all white show in mid summer combine it with Wahlenbergia rivularis 'White Balloons', Salvia chamelaeagnea 'Summer Snow', Scabiosa incisa 'White Carpet' and Hebenstretia dura 'White Ribbons' - all special selections promoted by Kirstenbosch. These white flowers cool the warm summer days and are visible till late in the evening for visitors to enjoy.
New plants of Dimorphotheca jucundum 'White Moon' can be propagated from cuttings that root well at any time of the year.
More about Dimorphotheca jucundum
Dimorphotheca jucundum was previously known as Osteospermum jucundum but recent DNA studies have confirmed its place within Dimorphotheca. There are fourteen species of Dimorphotheca, its distribution ranging from the Western Cape and Karoo to Namibia.
The common name of bergbietou or bloubietou (mountain bietou and blue bietou respectively) comes from bietou, the original Khoikhoi name first recorded in 1814 for a species of Dimorphotheca. Today bietou is very generally applied to many members of the daisy family. It is usually applied with a qualifying prefix, to distinguish one from another, as in this case berg- (mountain) because it is found in the wild in the mountains, and blou- (blue) possibly because of the blue-black centres of the flowers of some colour forms or because it looks very similar to some species that have purplish-blue flowers. In some instances the name is used specifically for species that are toxic to livestock, and yet is also applied to others that are very palatable and highly nutritious, or at least non-toxic. Bietou has also given its name to a farm and the surrounding district, the Biedou, near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape.
- Smith, C.A., 1699, Common Names of South African Plants, Dept. of Agricultural Technical Services, Botanical Survey Memoir No 35, Government Printer.
- Leistner, O.A. (ed.), 2000, Seed plants of southern Africa: families and genera, Strelitzia 10., National Botanical Institute, Pretoria
- Nordenstam, B. 1994. New Combinations in the Calenduleae. Comp. Newsl. 25:46-49
Liesl van der Walt
(Name updated August 2008)