This beautiful daisy from the Barberton area in the Northern Province
is a deservedly popular garden plant throughout the world and is
one of the parents of the many showy Gerbera hybrids seen
in florist shops.
Gerbera jamesonii is a perennial herb with deeply lobed
leaves covered with silky hairs arising from a crown. The striking
inflorescence is borne on a long stalk and the outermost petals
(ray florets) may be cream, red, orange or pink, while the central
flowers (disc florets) are cream. Flowering occurs in spring and
Gerbera jamesonii is found naturally in grassland in sandy,
well-drained soils in Mpumalanga.
genus name Gerbera is in honour of the German naturalist
Traugott Gerber, and the species was named after Robert Jameson
who collected live specimens while on a prospecting expedition to
the Barberton district in 1884, even though the species had been
collected on three earlier occasions by other people. In 1888, Medley
Wood, the curator of the Durban Botanical Garden sent plants to
Kew, which subsequently flowered.
A coloured illustration appeared in the Botanical Magazine in 1889,
and the species was described by J.D.Hooker. However, it was recently
discovered that R.W.Adlam of Pietermaritzburg had published a valid
description of the species in Gardener's Chronicle the previous
year, so the author's name has changed.
The breeding of Gerbera started at the end of the 19th
century in Cambridge, England, when Richard Lynch crossed G.jamesonii
and G.viridifolia. Most of the current commercially grown
varieties originate from this cross.
This species is grown in gardens throughout the world. It is one
of the most popular ornamental flowers in the world, both as a cut
flower and as a pot plant, and therefore is of considerable economic
Growing Gerbera jamesoni
Gerbera jamesonii can be grown from seed or crown divisions.
Seeds should be germinated within 1 to 2months of collection, at
about 20 to 25ºC,
and will flower after a year. Clumps can also be divided in spring.
Plants require full sun and moderate watering. Rot will occur if
the crowns are buried or the drainage is poor. Plants do best with
frequent feeding, especially in summer, to promote flowering. Remove
dead flowers regularly to encourage further flowering.
Slugs and snails are partial to the leaves, and Gerbera are
prone to some viral, bacterial and fungal diseases.
The genus Gerbera consists of about 30 species which are
found in Africa, Madagascar, tropical Asia and South America.
Codd,L.E. 1979. The story of the Barberton daisy, Gerbera jamesonii.
Veld and Flora (December);114-115.
Germishuizen, G & A. Fabian. 1997. Wildflowers of northern
South Africa. Fernwood Press.
Hind, D.J.N. 1992. Typification of Gerbera jamesonii. Kew
Bull. 47(1) : 110
Joffe, P. 1993. The Gardeners Guide to South African Plants.
Natal National Botanical Garden