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From sunshine yellow to cerise pink, gerberas are a simple statement of happiness. Endemic to the sunny lowlands of South Africa, these versatile flowers unsurprisingly embody the light-hearted affability for which antipodeans are renowned. The combination of bright colour and well-defined petals means these Transvaal daisies look as sensational in arrangements as they do accompanied only by a little bear grass. Rich in the chemical compound coumarin, gerberas have a sweet scent reminiscent of newly mown lawns.
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The showy, vibrant gerbera daisy is one of the most popular flowers for floral arrangements. No surprises there! Gerberas come in an assortment of cheerful colours including cotton candy pink, sunny yellow, luscious lavender and racy red among others, which make the blooms ideal as both the centrepiece or accent blossoms of a bouquet.
Gerberas are sometimes called African daisies or Transvaal daisies because they are native to South Africa. They are also nicknamed Forever Daisies because they last so long after they are cut. Gerberas were named for the famous German botanist Traugott Gerber who was a close friend of Carolus Linnaeus., the Swedish botanist who laid the foundations for animal and plant taxonomies. Most commercial varieties today come from the Netherlands or Columbia.
Gerbera daisies are hardy plants that grow easily with a minimum of fuss which makes them very popular as garden plants. Literally thousands of gerbera daisy hybrids exist. Like its namesake the common daisy, the gerbera daisy is a composite flower – its capitulum or head, the part of the plant the petals surround, is not a flower itself but a aggregate of hundreds of tiny, individual flowers. Although generally the capitulum is golden yellow, sometimes it can be black. The petals themselves are not always uniform in colour: it is not unusual to see a gerbera daisy with both red and pink petals.
Part of the fun of flowers are their symbolic associations. Since medieval times, daisies have been identified with innocence and purity. The vivid colour palette with which gerberas are blessed gives these blossoms an additional association as well: cheerfulness.
Gerberas are the perfect flower to give when you don’t want your intentions to be second guessed. While they are strikingly lovely flowers, they do not have the romantic subtext that a rose or an orchid carries. A gerbera flower arrangement is an appropriate gift for your mother, your daughter, your husband, your teacher – or your own true love.
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