Friday, April 23, 2010

South Africa in Berkeley: Blue Margarito in the Botanical Garden

The blue margarito (Felicia fruticosa), also known as blue daisy, marguerite daisy or shrub aster, is a plant of the aster or daisy (Asteraceae) family, endemic to those parts of South Africa with a mediterranean climate such as the Western Cape Province. A similar climate is found in coastal California, including the Bay Area and the University of California Botanical Garden in the Berkeley Hills, where the above picture was taken in the Southern Africa section. This collection of plants is located on a southwest-facing slope featuring plants from one of the most diverse botanical regions of the world. Early spring is an excellent time to walk the short, narrow trails through this geographic section of the garden, enjoy or study the displayed biodiversity and compare Southern African species with their “Californian relatives,” some of which can be found in the California section. The common California aster (Symphyotrichum chilense, formerly Aster chilensis), a low-land brush of coastal plains and bluffs, is in the same family. So is mayweed or stinking chamomile (Anthemis cotula) with its daisy-like flowers (many white rays around a yellow disk), which can be found in California in disturbed areas, but which is native to Europe and North Africa. It has “migrated” to North America and also to Southern Africa. It out-smells the blue margarito, but cannot compete with the margarito's colorful brilliance.

More about the blue margarito: Bush felica (Felica fruticosa).

No comments: