Usually I like to have at least recognized the name of the plant or seen it growing locally but this one was a complete unknown. The information in this case was minimal. Nothing other than the name on the plant pot.
It's called Berkheya purpurea.
Some research when we got home told me it was native to South Africa. One of the cultivar's of this plant is called "Zulu Warrior", which would have been a clue to it's origins. I presume therefore it is probably tender in this country and won't grow in quite the same way as in it's native environment. That means adding another plant to the list for winter mulching and a spot of TLC.
The daisy flowers are an attractive pale pink through to mauve that fades over time.
The centre of the flower looks like a fruit pastille.
What is extraordinary about this plant is it's spikiness. The stems grow from a central rosette of spiky leaves. The spikes then continue up the stems
Along the leaves,
Up the smaller stems.
And over the flower buds as well.
These are viscious spikes. I'm sure that it will be left well alone in it's native South Africa. It makes the eryngium look a bit of a shrinking violet...
Whether berkheya purpurea survives here remains to be seen.
Just as a footnote to this post.
I wish the labelling on plants gave more information. There was only a name in the form of a sticky label on the pot and I have yet to find staff in Garden Centres (as opposed to Nurseries) with much knowledge about the plants in their care.
I also think some of the plants on offer are too tender for this part of the world. Better labeling might help impetuous shoppers like me to think twice!
It's my only quibble with this is particular Garden Centre, which has interesting well cared for plants (and a great coffee shop)