Afrikaans name: Engelsmannetjies
The Red-star Zinnia is not indigenous to South Africa. It originates from South and Central America. It has established itself in South Africa and is quite widespread. I have only ever seen this plant with red flowers yet, as most people are aware, zinnias in gardens come in a wide range of colours.
It is an annual plant that can grow to a height of 50 cm. The leaves are rough and hairy and are around 6 cm in length and 1.5 cm across. The flowers are red and are each on a separate stalk. The flowers of the Red-Star Zinnia appear in summer. The flowers are up to 6 cm in diameter.
These plants are very hardy and can be found in various habitats and are particularly common along roadsides and pathways through the bush.
There are 20 species of Zinnia but none of them are indigenous to South Africa. The genus is named after Johann Zinn who lived between 1727 and 1759 and was a botanist at Gottingen.
References and further readingWild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 104
Illustrated Guide to the Wildflowers of Northern South Africa - Author: Gerrit Germishuizen & Brenda Clarke - Published: 2003 - Page: 195
A Photographic Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa - Author: Braam van Wyk - Published: 2000 - Page: 79
A Field Guide to Wild Flowers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region - Author: Elsa Pooley - Published: 2005 - Page: 82