The name of this species indicates that the plant must be something special. The Latin word 'speciosissimus' means very spectacular or the showiest of all. When seen in full flower around Clanwilliam the breathtaking beauty of this species is very obvious.
Tall vigorous shrubs 0.45-2.5 m high, strongly resiniferous and smooth. Branches leafy in upper part, bare below. Leaves (40-60)-200 mm long, needle-like with up to 7 branches to each side of the central nerve.
Individual flower heads are borne on stout stems 80-400 mm long. Outer bracts of flower heads are fused into a deep cup, which is inflated in the lower half and narrowing into a beak towards the open end, 8-15 mm high. Flower heads are large, up to 90 mm in diameter, with 16-35 ray florets, the rays 17-45 mm long and a rich yellow colour. Central disc florets are numerous (100-400). Seeds are 6-7 mm long and without hairs.
Flowering mainly from August to November but may start in July and continue into January.
Although this species is probably not threatened it is heartbreaking to see large areas of its habitat taken over by agriculture.
Distribution and Habitat
Grows in dry fynbos on rocky sandstone slopes and in valleys in the Vanrhynsdorp, Clanwilliam, Piketberg and Tulbagh districts. It can be found at altitudes ranging from 150-850 m.
Flowers are visited by general pollinators such as bees, beetles and flies. The cup-shaped bracts of the flowers provide a protected environment for insects to lay their eggs and the flower heads are therefore often parasitized.
Uses and cultural aspects: Old flowering stems and bracts are woody and can be used very effectively in the dried flower industry. The horticultural use of this species is recognized, but should be more widely promoted.
Growing Euryops speciosissimus
E. pectinatus (grey euryops, golden daisy bush), E.chrysanthemoides, E. virgineus (honey euryops) and E. speciosissimus (Clanwilliam euryops) are probably the Euryops species that are best known to gardeners. Of these the Clanwilliam euryops has the largest flowers.It is fast growing and can be planted singly or in groups. Older plants become straggly
and are bare at the base. This can be concealed by planting it behind lower growing plants and by pruning the shrubs after flowering. As it is a winter rainfall species, plants should be watered well in winter to produce a spectacular show in spring and summer, but be sure to provide good drainage and a sunny warm spot in the garden for this plant.. Propagate from seed or from cuttings.
- JOFFE, P. 1993. The Gardener's guide to South African plants. Delos, Cape Town.
- NORDENSTAM, B. 1968. The genus Euryops. Part I. Taxonomy. Opera Botanica 20. C.W.K. Gleerup, Lund, Sweden.
- NORDENSTAM, B. 1969. Phytogeography of the genus Euryops (Compositae). Opera Botanica 23. C.W.K. Gleerup, Lund, Sweden.
National Herbarium, Pretoria