Thursday, 18 February 2016


“The Japanese say, If the flower is to be beautiful, it must be cultivated.” - Lester Cole

Gerbera is a genus of plants in the Asteraceae (daisy) family. It was named in honour of German botanist and medical doctor Traugott Gerber (1710-1743) who travelled extensively in Russia and was a friend of Carl Linnaeus. Gerbera is native to tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy.

Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colours. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm (Gerbera mini 'Harley') in diameter or up to 12 cm (Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’). Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colours.

Gerbera is also important commercially. It is the fifth most used cut flower in the world (after rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip). It is also used as a model organism in studying flower formation. Gerbera contains naturally occurring coumarin derivatives. Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer. Their soil should be kept moist but not soaked.

Divide up your own gerbera clumps in late Summer or Autumn outside the tropics, or all year round in northern Australia. When planting gerberas make sure that the crown (the part of the plant from which the new growth arises) is 1-2cm above the soil level. This will reduce the likelihood of disease such as rot, which affect the crown and stems.

As cut flowers gerberas are available at florist shops most of the year. If you are growing gerberas yourself, you can pick your own flowers. Pick flowers that are fully open. As cut flowers gerberas should last 10 to 14 days. Careless picking can leave behind a spot that can become infected. Instead of cutting the stem, waggle it at its base until it pulls away cleanly. To arrange the flower cut off the hairy white part on the bottom of the stem, or the flower won’t be able to absorb any water.

In the language of flowers, white gerberas indicate innocence; yellow Gerberas say “I’ll try harder” and orange gerberas say “You are my sunshine”; red gerberas signify “You are a beauty”, while a bouquet of multicoloured gerberas means “cheer up!”.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

1 comment:

  1. This not all about gerberas but did read your nice post.
    Rosemary wrote a piece on Dimitri Tsoulamas . Pop over and read it. I think you will enjoy it.Have a good weekend !