Dyschoriste setigera (Pers.) J.C.Manning & Goldblatt
Common names: Fairy stars
This is a delightful low-growing groundcover up to 150-300mm high that requires little or no maintenance and is particularly suitable for water-wise gardens and hanging baskets. It was previously called Chaetacanthus setiger.
Dyschoriste setigera is an evergreen, low-growing groundcover, up to 150-300mm high with a spread of double the height. The tiny leaves are dark green, opposite, obovate (egg-shaped in outline with the broadest part towards the leaf tip), with axillary leaves sparsely glandular hairy. Flowers are few in axils, hidden amongst the leaves and bracts, white or sometimes blue. Flowering time is from August to January.
Dyschoriste setigera is Red Listed as Least Concern.
Distribution and habitat
Dyschoriste setigera occurs in subtropical areas along the eastern coast from Mossel Bay in the Western and Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, and inland in Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North-West Province. Fairy stars occur naturally in a variety of habitats in grassland, forest and renosterveld.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The specific epithet, setiger, is derived from the word seti meaning bristle and gero meaning bearing, thus ‘bearing bristle', in reference to the hairy leaves.
Not much is known about the pollination of Dyschoriste setigera. Plants are visited by generalist pollinators and pollen thieves like bees and beetles. The flowers also attract butterflies and other insects.
Horticulturally Dyschoriste setigera is used in decorative and indigenous garden displays, hanging baskets displays, pots, rockeries, seaside and shady gardens, as well as water-wise gardens. It can also be used around swimming pool areas, paths and paving.
Growing Dyschoriste setigera
Dyschoriste setigera requires well-drained soil. Plant seedlings or young plants in a sunny position where the plant will receive sun for approximately half the day. Add compost to encourage strong healthy growth and mulch around the plants to help retain soil moisture. Water regularly when plants are still small until plants show sign of new growth.
Propagate by cuttings; Dyschoriste setigeraroots quickly and easily from tip/apical cuttings taken from new growth. Collect cuttings early in the morning to prevent wilting. Keep cutting material moist throughout. Treat with rooting hormone and place in a standard mist unit. Cuttings should root in roughly 2–3 weeks. Harden off in a shade house after which plants can be moved to areas in full sun.
- Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape Plants: A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitzia 9 . National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
- Leistner, O.A. (ed.). 2000. Seeds plants of southern Africa: families and genera. Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
- Pooley, E. 1998. A Field Guide to Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.
- Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations: http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageCA-CH.html. Accessed 03/03/2014.
- Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations: http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageSA-SH.html . Accessed 03/03/2014.
- Solomon, L. A database of Indigenous South African Flora. http://kumbulanursery.co.za/plants/chaetacanthus-setiger . Accessed 28/02/2014
Plant Type: Ground Cover
SA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape
Flowering season: Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
Flower colour: Blue, White
Aspect: Full Sun, Morning Sun (Semi Shade), Afternoon Sun (Semi Shade)
Gardening skill: Easy