The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cosmos

Afrikaans name: Kosmos

A patch of Cosmos along the side of the N3 in the Free State

The attractive but invasive Cosmos flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

Bidens formosa

There are over 20 different plants belonging to the Cosmos family. They are native to northern South America, Central America (especially Mexico) and the southern states of the USA. The species of Cosmos found in South Africa is a perennial plant.

Cosmos can grow up to 2 metres in height. The flowers may be found in white and various shades of pink. I particularly like the cerise coloured blooms. Cosmos plants are extremely common alongside the highways in the Free State. The flowers make for a really beautiful display.

These plants have become a firm favourite with South African gardeners, and I think that some consider these alien plants as indigenous. They are easy to grow from seed, or trays of seedlings, and will keep coming back year after year. They are hardy and the flowers make good cut flowers for the vase as they have long stems.

Pretty pink Cosmos flower

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 106

A Photographic Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: Braam van Wyk - Published: 2000 - Page: 76

A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 444


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