Monday, October 3, 2011

Mountain Burr Daisy

Calotis cuneata
FAMILY: ASTERACEAE

The season is having a hard time getting out of its winter jacket this year - but we know it’s really spring when the daisies start coming out again.
After a slow start, the flowers are beginning to be seen in our local greasslands again.
We have tended to ignore our local daisies for garden use, yet there are a number of suitable species - modest little plants with considerable charm. Several of them, The Calotis species, area mixed blessing because each seedhead matures into a little prickly ball of seeds, which can break apart on contact, and leave seeds sticking in your socks.

The one pictured here is called "mountain" daisy, but this seems to be a bit of a misnomer, as it grows on the gently sloping blacksoil hillsides west of Toowoomba.
This is really only likely to be a nuisance to those who tramp through patches of them, though. The prickles are really neither very sharp or particularly annoying.
Meanwhile, the fresh white daisies are plentifully produced over a long season, and could be a worthwhile addition to a garden. They grow easily from seed, and also spread (though not too vigorously) by underground stolons. They would be happy to be left to creep around in a mulched area of garden.


They are short-lived perennials, best replaced from seed every three or four years. They are quite likely to do this without any help from us, coming up as self-sown seedlings where conditions are right for them.
As with all our local daisies, they are very hardy to frost and drought, and will grow in full sunlight or dappled shade.

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