Euryops virgatus has an extremely limited distribution area, and there are only three very small populations left, totalling a few hundred plants.
Euryops virgatus is a twiggy shrublet with many branches. The leaves are positioned closely together at the tip of the branches and are 3–15 mm long. The plant grows up to 50 cm.
The tiny, bright yellow daisy-like flowerheads are few or solitary on each branch. Each flowerhead bears yellow rayflorets and deep golden yellow discflorets. The flowering period is between June and August.
It is listed on the Red Data List as Critically Endangered, and a 20-year project in collaboration with the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) and Indigo Development and Change is underway to track the progress of these plants.
Distribution and habitat
It is only found at the Hantam National Botanical Garden, Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape and along a roadside fragment outside Nieuwoudtville. It grows on flat, deep, granular sandy-clay soils transitional between sandstone and tillite where there is a lot of earthworm activity.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus name Euryops is derived from the Greek eurys meaning large, and the ops is also from Greek meaning an eye, referring to the round flowerheads. The specific epithet is from the Latin virgatus meaning with long, straight shoots.
Euryops virgatus is very palatable to sheep and the bushes are heavily browsed, giving them very little chance to flower and therefore hardly any chance to reproduce.
Uses and cultural aspects
There are no recorded uses for this species.
Growing Euryops virgatus
Euryops virgatus grows very easily from seed and has a nice herbal smell. Harvest the seeds as soon as the seed capsules start to crack. Sow the seeds in April in winter-rainfall areas. The seeds can be sown in open beds filled with river sand. Keep the soil wet and don't allow it to dry out during the germination period. The seeds germinate within six weeks and the seedlings can be transplanted directly into nutrient-rich garden beds, preferably in full sun.
These plants are tolerant of extreme weather conditions and are frost-hardy. They can survive in temperatures ranging from -5°C to 45°C.
References and further reading
- Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9. National Botanical Institute of South Africa, Pretoria & MBG Press, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri.
- Raimondo, D., Von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. & Manyama, P.A. (eds). 2009. Red List of South African plants 2009. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
Hantam National Botanical Garden