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Olearia arborescens (Forst. f.) Ckn. & Laing

Modern name

Olearia arborescens (G.Forst.) Cockayne & Laing


Solidago arborescens Forst. f.; O. nitida (Hook, f.) Hook. f.

An evergreen shrub up to 12 ft high; young shoots grooved, clothed with fine, close, pale brown down. Leaves alternate, slightly leathery, ovate to roundish-ovate, pointed, usually rounded (sometimes broadly tapered) at the base, wavy or indistinctly toothed at the margins, 112 to 312 in. long, to 2 in. wide, dark shining green above and either glabrous or with appressed whitish hairs when young, clothed beneath with a silvery, satiny, closely appressed down; stalks about 12 in. long. Flower-heads in corymbs opening in May and June, from the end of the shoots and the terminal leaf-axils, the whole forming a cluster 4 to 6 in. wide, the main-stalks 2 to 3 in. long, grooved and downy like the young shoots, secondary stalks more downy. Each flower-head is 12 to 58 in. wide, aster-like, the seven to ten ray-florets being white, the disk-florets yellowish. Outer scales linear-oblong, clothed with short brown hairs. Cheeseman, Ill. New Zeal. Fl., t. 88, as s. nitida; Salmon, New Zealand Flowers and Plants in Colour, t. III.

Native of New Zealand from sea-level to 4,000 ft altitude and from 38° S. to Stewart Island. It was cultivated at Kew for at least seventy years, but was killed during the severe winter of 1946-7. Although it is moderately hardy near London it is really at its best in the milder parts, where it grows fast and makes a bush up to 12 ft high and more in width. It is well distinguished by the satiny sheen of the undersurface of the leaves, and is quite pretty in bloom. It grows well on chalky soil.

There is a variegated clone in cultivation.

O. × excorticata Buchan. O. arborescens × O. lacunosa. – Intermediate between the parents; leaves resembling those of O. lacunosa but comparatively shorter and broader, elliptic, with whitish tomentum beneath, up to 4 in. long and 1 in. wide. Davies, New Zealand Native Plant Studies, t. 125.

A natural hybrid.

O. arborescens × O. avicenniifolia. – Leaves 112 to 3 in. long, 12 to 1 in. wide, tapering at both ends, dark green above, dull white tomentose beneath, margin remotely and irregularly toothed; stalk about 12 in. long. Ray-florets about seven, pure white.

A natural hybrid, also said to have arisen spontaneously in the garden of Sir John Ross at Rostrevor, Co. Down.



Other species in the genus