I’m seeing these flowers around a lot, but I wasn’t really sure what they were.
I came across a clump of them planted in the Master Gardener’s garden space near where I live that was labeled: Arctotis.
That’s the botanical name for African daisy. This particular variety was ‘Purple Torch.’
African daisy is, as the name suggests, native to Africa, particularly the dry hot climate. They’re hardy in zone 9-11 (which includes Palo Alto). Apparently they can bloom continuously from late spring to first frost, but they will stop blooming over the summer if it gets really hot. I imagine in our temperate climate, they shouldn’t have too much trouble.
In addition to the blooms, I really like the silvery green foliage. Even though they won’t be perennial in Portland (zone 8), if I can get my hands on some seeds packets, it would be fun to try them out as an ornamental annual.