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Osteospermum ecklonis1.JPG
Purple Osteospermum flower
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Supertribe: Asterodae
Tribe: Calenduleae
Genus: Osteospermum

See text

Osteospermum /ˌɒstiəˈspɜːrməm, -ti-/,[1][2] is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Calenduleae, one of the smaller tribes of the sunflower/daisy family Asteraceae. They are known as the daisybushes[3] or African daisies.

Osteospermum used to belong to the genus Dimorphotheca, but only the annual species remain in that genus; the perennials belong to Osteospermum. The genus Osteospermum is also closely related to the small genus Chrysanthemoides, such as C. incana and C. monilifera.


The scientific name is derived from the Greek osteon (bone) and Latin spermum (seed). It has been given several common names: African daisy, South African daisy, Cape daisy and blue-eyed daisy.


Their alternate (rarely opposite) leaves are green, but some variegated forms exist. The leaf form is lanceolate. The leaf margin is entire, but hardy types are toothed.

The daisy-like composite flower consists of disc florets and ray florets, growing singly at the end of branches or sometimes in inflorescences of terminal corymbose cymes. The disc florets are pseudo-bisexual and come in several colors such as blue, yellow and purple. The hardy types usually show a dark blue center in the disc until the yellow pollen is shed. The ray florets are female and are found diverse colors such as white, cream, pink, purple, mauve to yellow. Some cultivars have "spooned" petals such as "Pink Whirls". Many species flower a second time late summer, stimulated by the cooler night temperatures. Hardy types show profuse flowering in the spring, but they do not get a second flush of flowers.


A phylogenetic study has revealed that several changes had to be made to this genus:

  • Osteospermum section Blaxium belongs in the genus Dimorphotheca
  • the subgenus Tripteris had to be separated from Osteospermum
  • the genus Oligocarpus has to be separated from Osteospermum
  • Osteospermum sanctae-helenae, endemic to St. Helena, belongs to Oligocarpus.

New species are still being discovered, such as O. australe, O. burttianum and O. potbergense.


There are about 70 species native to southern and eastern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.[4]


Osteospermum are popular in cultivation, where they are frequently used in summer bedding schemes in parks and gardens. Numerous hybrids and cultivars have been grown with a wide range of tropical colors. Yellow cultivars tend to have a yellow center (sometimes off-white).

Plants prefer a warm and sunny position and rich soil, although they tolerate poor soil, salt or drought well. Modern cultivars flower continuously when watered and fertilised well, and dead-heading is not necessary, because they do not set seed easily. If planted in a container, soil should be prevented from drying out completely. If they do, the plants will go into "sleep mode" and survive the period of drought, but they will abort their flower buds and not easily come back into flower. Moreover, roots are relatively susceptible to rotting if watered too profusely after the dry period.


Most widely sold cultivars are grown as annuals, are mainly hybrids of O. jucundum, O. ecklonis and O. grandiflorum and can be hardy to -2 °C (30 °F). If hardy, they can be grown as perennials or as shrubs.

Cultivars (those marked agm have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit):[5]

'White Spoon'
  • 'Acapulco'
  • 'African Queen'
  • 'Apricot'
  • 'Biera'
  • 'Big Pink'
  • ‘Blackthorn Seedling’ agm[6]
  • 'Bodegas Pink'
  • 'Buttermilk' agm[7]
  • 'Chris Brickell'
  • 'Duet'
  • 'Giles Gilbey'
  • 'Hopleys’ agm[8]
  • 'Ice White'
  • 'Langtrees agm[9]
  • ’Lady Leitrim’ agm[10]
  • 'Lilac Spoon'
  • 'Marbella'
  • 'Merriments Joy'
  • 'Nairobi Purple'
  • O. jucundum agm[11]
  • 'Passion Mix'
  • 'Pink'
  • 'Pink Beauty'
  • 'Pink Whirls' agm[12]
  • 'Silver Sparkler' agm[13]
  • 'Soprano'
  • 'Starshine'
  • 'Springstar Gemma'
  • 'Sunkist'
  • 'Weetwood' [14]
  • 'White Pim' agm[15]
  • 'White Spoon'
  • 'White Whirls'
  • 'Whirlygig'

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Osteospermum". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ "Osteospermum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Osteospermum L." Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
  5. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 70. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  6. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Osteospermum 'Blackthorn Seedling'". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Osteospermum 'Buttermilk'". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  8. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Osteospermum 'Hopleys'". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Osteospermum jucundum 'Langtrees'". Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  10. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Osteospermum 'Lady Leitrim'". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Osteospermum jucundum". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Osteospermum 'Pink Whirls'". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  13. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Osteospermum 'Silver Sparkler'". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Osteospermum 'Weetwood'". RHS. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  15. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Osteospermum 'White Pim'". Retrieved 16 January 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]