Gorteria diffusa The area from where the type was collected (see under Notes) corresponds to the area we refer to as “middle“ and Gorteria diffusa from this area can actually be recognized by always having 13 orange coloured ray florets, always 1-4 dark raised spots per capitulum and the spots always display only one white dot. Gorteria diffusa from further north in Namaqualand has 13 dark orange, orange, yellow or sulphur yellow ray florets always with some kind of spot pattern but in Richtersveld, close to the Namibian border, Gorteria diffusa has only 8 ray florets yellow or yellowish white with or without spots.
Roughly hairy, sprawling annual, up to 100 mm tall, germinating in the old involucre. Leaves oblanceolate, sometimes pinnatifid, scabrid above, white-felted beneath, margins revolute. Flowerheads solitary at branch tips, radiate, 20-35 mm diam.; ray florets yellow, orange or red with dark, beetle-like markings at base and darker reverse; disc florets dark; bracts acuminate with bristly margins, silky.
Like G. personata but bracts acuminate, hairy to tips, mostly shorter than rays and ray florets orange with beetle-like markings.
Decumbent or rarely erect annual herb, rarely shrublet, 2-20 cm high, basally branched, and often branched also in the distal part of shoots, rarely unbranched. Stems reddish or green; densely, patently hispid or strigose; hairs whitish, rarely reddish. Basal leaves 25-90 x 2-10 mm, cauline leaves (4-)12-42(-50) x (1-)2-7(-10) mm, gradually smaller distally, narrowly obovate, entire or sometimes pinnatifid and incised to c. ¼ of the width, adaxially densely hispid. Capitula c. (20-)30-55 mm in diameter. Involucre urceolate, becoming lignified and sometimes globose with age, free part of the phyllaries covering entire or ? of the distal part of the involucre. Phyllaries (18-)20-32, flexible, green or reddish with reddish or black apices, erecto-patent to erect, sometimes becoming patent or declinate after anthesis, outermost phyllaries c. 3-6(-8) x 0.5-1.3 mm, narrowly or linear triangular, hispid to villous, hairs whitish to black, sometimes becoming patent after anthesis, gradually longer, narrower and less pubescent towards centre. Middlemost 4-8(-9) x 0.5-1.8 mm, linear or narrowly triangular, elliptic or narrowly obovate and rarely truncate, becoming patent or slightly declinate-patent or staying erecto-patent after anthesis, sometimes with narrowly thorn-like, pungent acute lobes. Innermost phyllaries c. 4-10(-13) x 0.4-1.3 mm, triangular to linear triangular, sometimes becoming declinate after anthesis, hispid and sometimes with narrowly thorn-like acute lobes; lobes basally hispid. Ray florets (7-)8(-9) or (12-)13(-14), 10-23 x (2-)3-6 mm, longer than phyllaries, rarely equal in length; lamina elliptic, narrowly elliptic or obovate, apex obtuse or acute, 4-lobed; base of lamina flat or curved in one series but with some overlapping, or in two series. Colour very variable, adaxially yellowish white, bright yellow, sulphur yellow, bright orange, or reddish orange, rarely two-coloured yellowish white and bright yellow, or bright orange and brown; lamina base adaxially with or without bright yellow markings, with or without dark spots; dark lamina spots flat or sometimes raised, on 1-several ray florets (spotted ray florets sometimes significantly smaller, sometimes brighter in colour and more erect); black raised spots with 1-4 white dots, abaxially green, brown, purple or black, striped, completely coloured or spots, corolla hairs sometimes dense abaxially. Disc florets 30-40, yellow, lobes sometimes orange; peripheral florets hermaphroditic, central florets functionally male, corolla hairs sometimes longer and more dense distally, glandular hairs few-many. Style more or less bifurcate (less so towards centre). Cypsela c. 4 mm, asymmetrically pyriform, adaxially flattened, not ribbed, basally glabrous, ? distally villous sometimes the upper 1/6 is glabrous, twin hairs twisted, more or less covered with small, globose glands. Pappus absent or a minute fringed crown.
Southern Namibia through Namaqualand to Olifants River and Breede River Valleys.