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Olearia argophylla (Labill.) Benth.


Modern name

Olearia argophylla (Labill.) F.Muell. ex Benth.


Aster argophyllus Labill.

An evergreen shrub or small tree up to 45 ft high in the wild; young shoots slightly ribbed and clothed with a closely appressed silvery down. Leaves alternate, leathery, oblanceolate or oval, tapered about equally towards both ends, pointed, toothed unevenly, 2 to 6 in. long, 1 to 212 in. wide; grey green and slightly downy above when young, especially on the midrib, clothed permanently beneath with a close, fine, silvery, glistening felt; stalk grooved, 14 to 1 in. long. Flower-heads produced very numerously in June in corymbs 3 or 4 in. wide at the end of the shoots of the previous year’s growth, the whole forming a hanging cluster 8 in. or more wide. Ray-florets three to five, narrow, scarcely 14 in. long, creamy white; disk-florets six to eight, yellow. Bot. Mag., t. 1563, as Aster argophyllus.

Native of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania; introduced in 1804. Although not particularly attractive in its flowers, this is a handsome foliage plant on account of its silvery appearance. It has also a very pleasant musky scent which may be detected by rubbing the leaves, and which is also perceptible in the atmosphere near a bush after a shower. It has been grown against a wall at Kew, but that amount of protection is insufficient to keep it alive permanently. At Rossdohan, Co. Kerry, Eire, there are two large plants which seed themselves widely; the larger is almost 40 ft in height and the largest of its stems is 414 ft in girth (1966).

cv. ‘Variegata’. – Leaves margined with yellow.

O. viscosa (Labill.) Benth. Aster viscosus Labill. – A shrub 3 to 6 ft high, distinguished by its thin, lanceolate, opposite leaves, silvery white beneath; young shoots and involucral bracts viscid. Ray-florets one or two, creamy white. Disk-florets three to five. Native of Victoria and Tasmania.



Other species in the genus