Osteospermum, often known as the African Daisy, is a beautiful flower at once familiar and exotic. As the name suggests, this genus is native to Africa, specifically the southern regions, and is also known to be native to Arabian Peninsula as well. Yet despite this far-flung provenance, these flowers have proven very popular, adorning borders, containers and seasonal beds up and down the country. What is most striking about these flowers is undoubtedly the colouring, which was known to have raised quite a few eyebrows upon the plant’s first introduction to Britain.
Quite unlike a great deal of flowers commonly grown in the UK, the Osteospermum’s petals are coloured with hues of purple, orange and white resembling a kind of metallic paint. This makes the plant quite the eye catcher, either when given prominence in a container display or as part of a bed or border with other species. Aside from this exotic colouration, however, these flowers are otherwise similar to daisies, offering the familiar and well-loved site of thin petals radiating around a centre disc.
Osteospermum are known to produce blooms which close up at night, as a side effect of this mechanism, cloudy and overcast days might fail to coax out the exotic beauty. However, many gardeners feel this merely adds a beguiling quality to these shy bloomers, creating gardens which positively open up when the good weather comes along.