Bush felicia (Felicia fruticosa)
|Also known as:||wild aster|
|Size||Height: up to 1 m (2)|
Subspecies Felicia fruticosa brevipedunculata is classified as Vulnerable (VU) in South Africa on the Southern African Plant Red Data Lists (3).
The pretty bush felicia, a member of the daisy family, is a well-branched shrub; its scientific name refers to this fact as fruticosus means ‘shrubby’ in Latin (4). The small, fleshy leaves, which are broadest in the middle and taper toward the base, grow in tufts (2). The flowers of the bush felicia, which are around 15 millimetres wide (4), are yellow in the centre, with bright blue to mauve outer petals (2).
Very little information is available regarding this species’ distribution. Subspecies F. f. brevipedunculata is endemic to South Africa, occurring only in the Limpopo Province (3)
The bush felicia grows on rocky lower slopes (2).
The bush felicia is adorned with its brightly-coloured flowers from September until November (2). Whilst there is apparently no information available regarding this species biology, it is likely to be similar to that of other Felicia species. Insects, such as bees, visit the flowers of Felicia species to feed on small amounts of nectar, simultaneously picking up pollen which is then deposited on the next flower it feeds from. Following pollination, the flowers develop into fluffy seed heads, with the small, light seeds bearing tufts of long hairs which allow them to be carried away by the slightest breeze (5).
While bush felicia is not yet known to be threatened, the subspecies F. f. brevipedunculata is considered to be Vulnerable to extinction in South Africa due to its small population and restricted distribution (3).
The bush felicia occurs within the Cape Floral Kingdom, a ‘hot-spot’ of plant diversity in South Africa in which there are a number of protected areas (6). This species also occurs within the Happy Rest Nature Reserve in the Limpopo Province, South Africa (7).
For further information on the Cape Floral Kingdom and its conservation see:
- Wild Cape Nature Trust:
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- Cape Floral Kingdom: an area occupying about 90,000 square kilometres in South Africa that contains an incredibly high diversity of plant species (around 8,700 species), of which 68 percent are found no where else.
- Endemic: a species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Pollination: the transfer of pollen grains from the anther (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.
- Subspecies: a population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
- Heywood, V.H. (1978) Flowering Plants of the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Goldblatt, P. and Manning, J. (2000) Cape Plants: A Conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. National Botanical Institute of South Africa, Pretoria .
- Golding, J.S. (2002) Southern African Plant Red Data Lists. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 14. SABONET, Pretoria.
- Paterson-Jones, C. and Manning, J. (2007) Ecoguide Fynbos. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa.
PlantZAfrica (February, 2008)
UNEP-WCMC: Cape Floral Protected Areas of South Africa (February, 2008)
UNEP-WCMC: Happy Rest Nature Reserve (February, 2008)