The Striking Purple Sunflower

Berkheya purpurea  was named after the Dutch botanist Jan le Francq van Berkhey (1729 -1812). Berkheya purpurea is the only purple flowered species within the genus. The majority within the genus are white or yellow. It is native to South Africa  where it grows in the mountains of the Eastern Cape, Drakensberg in Kwazulu – Natal, Lesotho and The Orange Free State. This plant is classed as a rhizomatous perennial which forms a dense prickly rosette of foliage. The single stemmed flower reaches about 1 metre in height and appears in UK cultivation between June and August. The flower is an attractive pale mauve with a darker purple centre. It was first cultivated in the UK at KEW in 1917 but only fairly recently has it become a popular garden ornamental. They grow best in soil that is fertile in full sun and well drained. It can be propagated by freshly collected seed or by dividing the root stock.



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Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer, BBC Beechgrove Garden Television Presenter & BBC Radio 4 GQT Panellist. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

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