Gazania rigens (the treasure flower) is a treasure of South Africa. The flowers feature vibrant, cheerful-looking blossoms, evergreen foliage, and an interesting history of etymology and symbolic meaning. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about Gazania flower meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.
The Symbolic Meaning of Gazania (Treasure Flowers) – The Essentials
Gazania symbolizes good fortune, wealth, and riches in the language of flowers. Also known as the treasure flower, they showcase an array of color tones that also take on additional symbolic meanings. As such, Gazania blossoms symbolize excitement, friendship, optimism, and purity in addition to their traditional symbolic meaning associated with good fortune and wealth.
About Gazania (Treasure Flowers)
Gazania rigens is a species belonging to the Gazania genus within the Asteraceae (daisy, composite, aster, and sunflower) plant family. This species of gazania flowers are commonly called treasure flowers.
Other species of gazania flowers are widely called African daisies or calendula. Flowers of this genus are also commonly referred to by the genus name, Gazania.
Gazania rigens is a flowering, perennial subshrub that grows about 20 inches tall and wide at maturity. The species produces silvery green foliage that sometimes has a bluish tint. The leaves are shaped similarly to dandelion foliage, meaning they are slightly spoon-shaped and lobed.
Stems that can be 10 to 20 inches in height produce large (three to four-inch diameter) daisy-like, ray-floret flower heads in shades of brilliant yellow, white, gold, or orange. Many cultivars and hybrids have been produced that bloom with slightly variegated flower petals that have bright-yellow tips that deepen from yellow to orange to dark brown toward the flowers’ centers.
Popular Types of Gazania Flowers
Gazania flowers have become a popular staple for gardeners growing flowers in beds and containers alike. As a result, several treasure flower cultivars have been developed for their striking appearance, brilliant colors, and attractive markings. Some of the most popular varieties of gazania flowers include:
- Gazania ‘Daybreak Series’ – This variety is part of an entire series of ‘Daybreak’ gazania flowers that feature bright colors with either monochromatic or contrasting markings. It includes blooms such as ‘Daybreak Bright Yellow,’ ‘Daybreak Garden Sun,’ and ‘Daybreak Bright Orange’ in addition to white, pink, and burgundy colored flowers.
- Gazania ‘Big Kiss Yellow Flame’ – These gazanias feature extra-large flowers that open up in the daytime and the sunlight with blooms that are about five inches in diameter. Their petals are bright-yellow with an orange-red stripe running down the center.
- Gazania ‘Big Kiss White Flame’ – Similar to ‘Big Kiss Yellow Flame,’ this variety of gazania features super-sized blossoms. The big difference between the two is their colors. ‘Big Kiss White Flame’ features yellowish-white petals with dark-pink stripes marking their centers.
- Gazania ‘Tiger Stripes’ – This variety features large blossoms in a shade of golden orange. Running down the center of each petal is a tiger-orange stripe.
- Gazania ‘Talent Orange’ – This variety opens up with pure-orange ray florets and central discs.
- Gazania ‘New Day Rose Stripe’ – This variety has a double layer of snowy-white petals that are attractively marked with almost-red, magenta stripes running down their centers.
- Gazania ‘New Day Red Stripe’ – This variety features a double layer of golden-yellow petals with dark-red stripes running down their centers, deepening to a reddish-brown near the flowers’ centers.
History and Origins of Gazania rigens
Gazania rigens are native to areas of the south and southwestern tip of Africa, including Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique, Northern Provinces, and Swaziland.
Gazania rirgens Etymology
According to definitions from Oxford Languages, the origin of the genus name, Gazania, is a modern Latin adaptation, naming the genus of plants after the 15th-century Greek scholar, Theodorus Gaza. The specific name, rigens, is Latin for rigid, stiff, or unbending.
It’s not completely clear why Gazania rigens is commonly called the treasure flower. However, there are some theories. Some believe that the term treasure is associated with the gold color of the flowers, while others think it could be associated with the word gaza itself. In the Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, “gaza” (a word of Persian origin) refers to treasure, riches, and the royal treasury.
So, although the Gazania genus gets its “Gaza” from a person’s name, it may have become associated with the word gaza and treasure over time.
Uses and Benefits of Treasure Flowers
Gazania rigens is most commonly grown as an ornamental flower thanks to its vibrant blossoms and evergreen (in some climates) foliage. Due to its popularity in gardens, the plant has become naturalized in several areas of the world, reaching far beyond its native regions. Areas of naturalization include the Mediterranean, parts of Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, and parts of the United States.
It’s perfect for planting in containers and hanging baskets, garden beds, walkways, cottage gardens, borders, on slopes, banks, and in xeriscaping, thanks to its remarkable ability to tolerate drought.
Treasure flowers are also a good addition to a garden where you wish to attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
There is some history of certain species of Gazania being used historically for medicinal purposes. For example, it has been used as an anti-inflammatory and to treat toothache, headache, infertility, sore eyes, and pneumonia.
Additionally, there is evidence of it having been used to prevent miscarriage and being included in purgative preparations to induce vomiting. Although gazania flowers are not considered toxic, they cause significant gastrointestinal upset. So, ingesting them is not advised.
The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Gazania Flowers
Gazania rigens Flower Meaning and Symbolism
Given Gazania rigens common name, treasure flower, it is not really surprising to learn that these flowers symbolize wealth, riches, good fortune, and treasure.
Treasure Flowers in the Language of Flowers
The treasure flower or Gazania rigens was conspicuously excluded from the various floriography (language of flowers) texts from the Victorian era. As a result, this flower was not assigned an official meaning in the language of flowers.
Although gazania flowers were not included in the Victorian language of flowers, some of its cousins from the Asteraceae plant family were assigned symbolic meanings in the floral communication system. These included aster (afterthought or variety), daisy (innocence), and sunflower (haughtiness or adoration).
Gazania Colors and Their Symbolic Meanings in the Language of Flowers
Gazania rigens and its cultivars and hybrids bloom in shades of orange, yellow, and white. However, other species of gazania flowers also feature shades of red and pink. In the language of flowers, color plays a vital role in symbolic meaning.
- Red – Red flowers are most commonly associated with romantic love, passion, and true love.
- Orange – Orange flowers symbolize enthusiasm, excitement, energy, joy, and optimism.
- Yellow – In flowers, yellow is the color of happiness, positivity, optimism, friendship, and loyalty.
- Pink – In flowers, pink can symbolize love, but it is more often associated with gentle affection, gentleness, and femininity.
- White – White is often a symbol of mourning and sympathy in flowers. It can also represent purity, chastity, innocence, faith, and spirituality.
Depending on the colors of the blooms, gazania flowers can also take on these symbolic meanings. So, Gazania rigens blossoms could symbolize excitement, friendship, optimism, and purity in addition to their traditional symbolic meaning associated with good fortune and wealth.
Suitable Gifting Occasions for Treasure Flowers
Treasure flowers almost always make a wonderful gift or choice for a bouquet or live plant. They are a smart way to tell any recipient (family member, friend, coworker, teacher, mentor, etc.) how much you treasure them.
Since they symbolize treasure, wealth, riches, and good fortune, gazania flowers are the perfect gift for any person whom you want to wish abundance and good luck in life or in a new endeavor. In this respect, they make a wonderful housewarming, engagement, wedding, new job, promotion, new baby, or congratulatory present.
These cheerful blossoms also make an excellent “get well” present, as their vibrant faces are sure to lift any recipient’s spirits.
Gazania Flower Meaning FAQs:
What do gazania flowers symbolize?
Gazania flowers symbolize good fortune, wealth, and riches – hence the common name, treasure flower.
Do gazania flowers symbolize love?
Gazania flowers do not symbolize love; gazania (treasure flowers) symbolize riches, wealth, and good fortune.
Do gazania flowers come back every year?
Gazania flowers are winter-hardy, grow as perennials, and come back yearly in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. In other growing zones, they can be grown as annuals.
How long do gazania flowers last?
When grown in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11, gazania flowers can bloom from spring until winter. In other growing zones, gazania flowers bloom from late summer or early spring until fall.
Are gazania flowers toxic?
Gazania flowers are not considered to be toxic. Although they aren’t technically poisonous, ingesting them can cause significant gastrointestinal discomfort.
Gazania Flower Meaning: The Final Word
Whether you grow Gazania rigens in your garden and containers or enjoy them in bright and beautiful floral arrangements, you’ll find that this flower is truly one of Mother Earth’s treasures. The blossoms of the treasure flower will be sure to create richness in your life either through the good fortune they symbolize or the beauty and color they add to your surroundings.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.
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