Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Monthly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on a member of the Asteraceae (Daisy) family.
Printzia laxa (Giant Daisy Bush in English, and Sephomolo in Sesotho), is a perennial herb which grows to around 2 m tall. This plant grows in moist scrub below Clarens Formation sandstone cliffs and in close proximity to streams. Growth has been recorded at altitudes of up to 2400 m A.S.L from the EC through to Mpum.
The name laxa; is derived from the Latin laxus and refers to the drooping growth-form of this species. P. laxa makes use of an unusual flowering timing (but by no means isolated) in that it is one of few plants in the province to flower in winter. The advantages of this system are that there are fewer other plants with which to compete for pollination services, and could theoretically result in increased reproductive success. The flowers of this species are highly variable and may appear pinker in certain regions.
The leaves of P. laxa measure 70X45 mm; are thin with a rough texture and have coarsely toothed margins. The stems are much branched from the base. The inflorescence are moderately sized and borne aloft leafy side-branchlets. The flower-heads measure around 30 mm across with usually 12 ray florets of a white or very light pink hue and when crushed give of a sweet honey-like scent. Flowering takes place from April – October.
P. laxa makes for a pleasant garden plant as it grows easily, gives of a pleasing scent and grows readily from seed.
The SANBI conservation status for P. laxa is listed as Least Concern.
Article and photography by Damien Coulson,
Head ranger Clarens Village Nature Reserve
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