Pteronia stricta Aiton
Common names: kaatjiegert, kaatjiegertbossie (Afr.)
Pteronia stricta is an upright shrub with showy yellow flower heads that appear almost throughout the year.
A densely leafy, erect shrub, 0,3 - 1.5 m tall. The smooth leaves occur in tufts and are fleshy and the branches are rough and scaly. Yellow flower heads (capitula) appear September to July.
Pteronia stricta is not a threatened plant.
Distribution and habitat
Pteronia stricta is found on the moist upper slopes of the Swartberg Mountains to Joubertina in the Western Cape. It occurs naturally in the coastal and Karoo winter rainfall regions and can handle light frost. Pteronia stricta is found in abundance in rocky, sandy or loamy soils in more arid areas. Pteronia stricta grows at moist upper mountain slopes on poor acidic, quartzitic soils in full sun with good ventilation. It occurs at temperatures ranging from 30° C to 40° (maximum ) and 5°C to 10° C (minimum). Flowering time occurs throughout the year.
Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus Pteronia is mainly a southern African genus with many species but with only a few species occurring in Zimbabwe and Australia. Strictus is taken from the Latin and means erect or upright, probably referring to the erect habit of the shrub.
Pteronia stricta, a South African endemic, was cultivated at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1789. It was described by the then director of the Gardens, W. Aiton in a Catalogue of the plants cultivated in the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew (Hortus Kewensis) a publication which listed all the plant species in cultivation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1789.
Pollination occurs by bumble bees and beetles. It is a resprouter i.e it sprouts after fire. Seed is released when flowers mature and is dispersed by the wind. The stems of the plants are eaten by rodents while game rarely brows Pteronia stricta.
It has been reported in the Western Cape that the leaves of Pteronia stricta are used medicinally to treat intestinal disorders.
Growing Pteronia stricta
If grown from seed, use only the mature, fully formed seed. Use an aqueous smoke extract or a commercial, smoke seed primer to pre-soak seeds for 24 hours. Alternatively, smoke seed trays after sowing. Use fungicide to dust seeds lightly to prevent seedling infections. Use a well-drained soil medium and incubate in full sun at temperatures between 10° and 20°C, during March to April. Cover seed, sown not thickly, lightly with soil.
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- Goldblatt, P. & Manning, J. 2000. Cape plants. A conspectus of the Cape Flora of South Africa. Strelitiza 9. National Botanical Institute of South Africa & Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.
- Hulley, I.M. 2010. The ethnobotany, leaf anatomy, essential oils and antimicrobial activity of Pteronia species (Asteraceae) URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4738 , Accessed 1 September 2014
- Leistner, O. A. (ed.) 2000. Seed Plants of southern Africa: families and genera . Strelitzia 10. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
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- Snijman, D.A. (ed.) 2013. Plants of the greater Cape Floristic Region, Vol. 2: The Extra Cape flora. Strelitzia 30 . South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.
- Stearn, W.T. 1963. Stearn's dictionary of plant names for gardeners A handbook on the origin and meaning of the botanical names of some cultivated plants. Cassel, London
- Vlok, J. & Schutte-Vlok, A.L. 2010. Plants of the Klein Karoo. Umdaus Press, South Africa.
Plant Type: Shrub
SA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Western Cape
Soil type: Sandy, Loam
Flowering season: Sporadic/All year
Flower colour: Yellow
Aspect: Full Sun
Gardening skill: Average