Coastal Gazania (Gazania rigens), a major component of Melbourne’s fluorescent coast although it is the less extensively established of Victoria’s two weed Gazanias.
Native to Southern Africa, within Victoria Coastal Gazania has almost exclusively been a colonist of the coastal embankments and adjacent vegetation communities surrounding Port Phillip Bay. Introduced to Melbourne in nursery catalogues by 1873 (G. Brunning, Melbourne), the first record of naturalised plants was at Sandringham in 1952.
Around the bay, wild populations of Coastal Gazania are composed of both commercial hybrids and suspected natural crosses with the more extensively weedy Gazania linearis, with which it is often co-located and which we will cover shortly. There are also a number of subspecies sometimes recognised and available in nursery stock. As a consequence the plant occurs as a weed with a range of varied flower colouring and appearance. On the petals, the black checker marked with a white dot is usually indicative of the Coastal species.