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Olearia chathamica Kirk

Modern name

Olearia chathamica Kirk

An evergreen shrub 3 to 7 ft high; young shoots stout, furrowed, and like the undersurface of the leaves and flower-stalks, clothed with a soft white felt. Leaves alternate, 112 to 5 in. long, 12 to 112 in. wide, thick, leathery, oblanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, pointed, the margins set with rather regular blunt teeth, tapering at the base to a short broad stalk; green and glabrous above; the midrib is raised beneath and at each side of it are one or two similarly prominent veins running lengthwise. Flower-heads aster-like, 134 to 214 in. wide, solitary on stalks 4 to 6 in. long. Ray-florets numerous, usually white, sometimes tinged purplish, 58 in. long, linear, pointed. Disk-florets dark violet-purple, forming a conspicuous centre to the flower-head 34 in. wide. Outer bracts linear, pointed, 13 in. long, woolly towards the top. Bot. Mag., t. 8420.

Native of the Chatham Islands; introduced by Major A. A. Dorrien-Smith in 1910. It was successfully grown in the Rectory garden at Ludgvan, near Penzance, planted in peat, leaf-soil, and grit. It flowers in May and June. Among cultivated olearias O. chathamica most resembles O. semidentata and is equally beautiful, though more tender. It differs from that species in its larger, broader, more conspicuously toothed leaves with prominent veins beneath.

O. angustifolia Hook. f. – Like O. chathamica, but of larger stature, with stouter peduncles bearing leaf-like bracts, narrower lanceolate leaves, and consistently pure white ray-florets. Kirk, Forest Flora of New Zealand, t. 138.

A native of New Zealand (South and Stewart Islands), not certainly known to be in cultivation in the British Isles.

O. oporina (Forst. f.) Hook. f. Arnica oporina Forst. f. – Differs from O. chathamica in its yellow disk-florets; ray-florets white. Native of New Zealand (South Island). Hall-Jones, Fiordland National Park, t., p. 62.



Other species in the genus