Friday, December 28, 2007

A Cotula from the South African Cape

This annual Cotula was collected by myself in the southwestern Cape during the early 90's and has shown itself to be an adaptable, if short lived, tiny garden flower. In nature it would germinate during the fall and grow and bloom in winter and early spring, but here it can self sow and germinate in spring as well as fall. Of course, fall germinating seedlings are dispatched by our severe winters. I had it self sowing for years at the NYBG in sandy soil in a spot near a greenhouse, as well as in pots in the greenhouse. I resurrected refrigerated seed this spring and started a few pots under lights, and set them outside when the weather was settled. They started flowering under lights indoors, with tiny white 3/8" discs (no petals) on stems that emerge from a delicate jumble of lacy, finely divided light green foliage. After being put out in the garden, they bloomed and seeded profusedly, finally expiring when it got too hot in July. Right now I am finding seedlings in pots indoors and I anticipate I will also find seeds germinating in the garden next spring. Any ideas as to which species it is would be welcome.

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