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Rhodanthemum 'African eyes' - plant of the month Dec 2014

The Genus Rhodanthemum, depending on which authorities are followed, contains between 10 and 15 species, all of which were included in either Leucanthemum or Chrysanthemum.

They are subshrubs or prostrate, mat-forming perennials which are native to rocky, exposed places in Northern Africa. Once a member of the Asteraceae, now in the newly re-assigned Compositae (until the botanists have another rethink!).

Formerly Leucanthemum ('white flowered') 'African eyes', this plant is easily accomodated in either a rock garden, sunny border or large container. Seemingly happy in any soil type and fully hardy if given ample drainage and a fairly open, sunny site. The large white flowers and attractive foliage are a real boon at this time of year, flowering well past the first frosts.

With typical Composite flowers, the structure can be clearly seen - the individual disc florets ( the orangey/yellow open outer structures and the dark unopened floret buds) surrounded by the pure white ray florets.


Ray Drew