Scientific Name: Senecio glastifolius
Common Names: Large Senecio, Waterdissel, Holly Leaf Senecio
Plant Type: Erect perennial to 4'
Environment: Not recommended for planting
Prefers sandy soil
Bloom: Daisy like flowers which are actually 12-22 petal-like purple or pink florets (small flowers) surrounding a center of yellow florets
Uses: Not recommended for planting
Other: Considered invasive in its native South Africa, has naturalized and is listed as an invasive weed in Australia. Like all members of the Asteraceae family (formerly Compositae), what appears to be a solitary flower is actually made up of many smaller flowers called florets. The genus Senecio is one of the largest of flowering plants with over 1000 species
At the tip of South Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, lies the floral kingdom of the Cape Province, a tiny area of land with a dazzling assortment of endemic plants (plants found nowhere else), twice as many as are found in California! The Cape's Mediterranean climate, mild and wet winters, dry and hot summers, helps promote this marvelous diversity, together with the Province's isolated position at the end of the continent.
Senecio glastifolius grows in a narrow stretch along the south coast, and also appears in the fynbos, areas of evergreen shrubs of varying sizes and varieties in company with proteas, heather and restios. It is a tall, semi-woody perennial with a single layer of brilliant lavender petaled ray florets surrounding a central disk of golden florets. Its leaves are lance-shaped and coarsely toothed. It grows densely to three feet or higher. In Afrikaans, it is called, "Waterdissel" (water thistle) for its water-loving habits and thistly leaves.
There is a negative side to Senecio glastifolius. In Australia and New Zealand, it has become an obnoxious pest, driving out native plants with its ability to spread and thrive on disturbed ground. Efforts are underway for its eradication. Even in its native home at the Cape it is becoming a pest, seeding itself in burned areas and ploughed fields if it finds water.
IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS:
Photos by Docent Joanne Taylor, Text by Docent Kathy McNeil, Profile by ADavid Kruse-Pickler