Gerbera is a genus of ornamental plants from the sunflower family [Asteraceae]. It has approximately 30 species in the wild, extending to South America, Africa and tropical Asia.
Gerbera is a tender perennial plant. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds, but resistant to deer.
Gerbera species bear a large capitulum with striking, two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink or red colors. The capitulum, which has the appearance of a single flower, is actually composed of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum. The flower heads can be as small as 7 cm [Gerbera mini ‘Harley’] in diameter or up to 12 cm [Gerbera ‘Golden Serena’].
Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist. They vary greatly in shape and size. Colours include white, yellow, orange, red, and pink. The centre of the flower is sometimes black. Often the same flower can have petals of several different colors. Gerbera is also important commercially. It is one of the most used cut flower in the world [besides rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, and tulip].
Photos: Bogor Botanical Gardens, West Java, Indonesia 20061031