Hilton Daisy blooming now

2015-11-04 06:00
Colour variations of theHilton Daisy. Photo: Lynda Drogemoller

Colour variations of theHilton Daisy. Photo: Lynda Drogemoller

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THE Hilton Daisy (gerbera aurantiaca), an endangered species, is currently blooming in areas surrounding Greytown. This unique flower is most often a vibrant red. Endemic to the KZN mistbelt grasslands, the species is now listed as endangered through the progressive fragmentation and degradation of its natural grassland habitat. There are only 15 known populations.

Flowering takes place in spring, from September to November, while mostly crimson, pink, yellow and orange can be seen. The genus Gerbera is named after the German naturalist Traugott Gerber, who started the first botanical garden in Moscow in the 1700s. There are 14 known Gerbera species in in South Africa some of which are found only in the Western Cape.

The Hilton Daisy was first discovered by Christian Ferdinand Krauss during his visit to Natal in 1839. The Hilton Daisy is named after Hilton College and Hilton, and has an emotive association with both the college and the village. It is emphasised that the collecting of threatened plants, such as the Hilton Daisy, or their seed, is prohibited by law.

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