T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Osteospermum fruticosum (Dimorphotheca)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(Unranked):        Angiosperms
(Unranked):        Eudicots
(Unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Asterales
Family:      Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe:        Calenduleae
Genus:      Osteospermum
Species:     O. fruticosum
Binomial name: Osteospermum fruticosum
Common name: Dimorphotheca, Trailing African Daisy or Shrubby Daisybush

Osteospermum is a toxic plant genus and ingested causes cyanide poisoning because it contains  hydrocyanic acid. It is poisonous to cattle.

Osteospermum fruticosum is a shrubby, semi-succulent perennial herbaceous flowering plant native to South Africa. It is grown in gardens from which it has escaped and now is widely naturalised in New Zealand, mainly the North Island.
It has straggling stems which becoming woody near the base, and often forming dense mats as the stems root along the ground and is able to cover up to or more than 15 square metres.
It has fleshy leaves which are alternate, hairy, elongate (up to 10 cm long), and with toothed margins.
Flowering occurs Aug.–Jan and the daisy like flower heads (4-7 cm across) are solitary. The rays are white on the upper surface but bluish purple colour below. The flowers small center disc is blueish purple and is distinctive feature of this plant. It produces main small hairless (6-7 mm long) seeds. It reproduces by seed or vegetatively. 

Osteospermum fruticosum is now classified as a weed in New Zealand. As an escapee plant its inhabits coastal areas, banks, clay, cliffs, wasteland.

The name 'Osteospermum' is exclusively used for the perennial forms while ‘Dimorphotheca’ is used for the annuals. Though there are aspects they are very different they both have in common that the flowers close at night.

Osteospermum fruticosum growing across beach sand on the east coast of the Coromandel.