Cape daisy (Arctotheca calendula)

The Arctotheca Calendula is an herbaceous plant native to South Africa, belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is a very showy plant, unfortunately it is a terrible invader.


This plant, which is native to South Africa, was introduced accidentally or for ornamental purposes in other regions such as Australia, the Iberian Peninsula, New Zealand and the United States, where it adapted very quickly and where it is now considered a very difficult invasive to eradicate.

This is one of the reasons why in Portugal, and for example, its cultivation or decorative use is prohibited, since it has an invasive behavior and because it is considered a very dangerous species for natural ecosystems.

The Arctotheca calendula  reproduces very easily and quickly, since it not only releases large amounts of seeds that last over time, but also produces underground jets that form new plants.

In this way it occupies the spaces in an exaggerated way, suffocating the native plants and causing a significant modification in the ecosystems.

Origin of Arctotheca calendula

This name is derived from the Greek words arktos meaning “a bear” and theke meaning “box” referring to the densely wooly fruits. The species name calendula probably refers to its resemblance to the European genus Calendula.

It means ‘little calendar’ and comes from the Greek word kalendae, which means the first day of the month, and could refer to its long flowering period. Its common name is yellow or orange flower daisies.


This plant spreads very easily through its seeds and is that each plant can produce a large number of seeds. When the plant dies in the summer, the seeds fall around it, giving life to new plants that spread quickly.

The woolly vilano that retains the seeds easily sticks to the sleeves of the pants or the legs of the animals, in this way it can spread throughout the area.

Its leaves are dark green in color, arranged alternately and the flowers that Arctotheca calendula give are visited and pollinated mainly by bees and butterflies.


The gray felt found on the underside of the leaves of many species in the daisy family, including the calendula Arctotheca, has many uses. When scraped off, this felt looks like a miniature cloth.

It is used to cover the ground, since it is capable of growing in any garden soil, being advisable to place it in full sun for better growth. In addition, it does not require large amounts of water and supports moderate frosts.


The invasion can be controlled through weeding that must be carried out frequently. To be successful, the entire plant must be uprooted, including the stolons as they can generate new plants.

Some chemicals such as 3% glyphosate have been used to control large pests of this species of marigold. In addition, herbicides must be used to achieve total eradication. However, you should know that some species in Africa became resistant to herbicides.

From a biological point of view, there are no biological agents to date that help to find calendula infection. Some diseases, insects, and invertebrates can occasionally cause plant damage, but the effects are short-term.

To finish we can say that this is an ideal plant for ornamental use, given its great resemblance to daisies. But if you decide to have it in your garden, you should consider its invasive behavior, since it can damage the other plants you have grown.

To eliminate them from your garden you must make sure to uproot it, so that no new plants emerge. Now and if you decide to keep it, you will not have to give it much maintenance since they adapt easily to the ground, require little water and are highly resistant to the sun.

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