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Olearia colensoi Hook. f.

Modern name

Olearia colensoi Hook.f.

An evergreen shrub 10 to 16 ft high. Leaves of very leathery texture, usually obovate to obovate-lanceolate, pointed or occasionally bluntish at the apex, tapering at the base to a stout stalk 12 to 34 in. long, toothed (often doubly so) at the margin, 3 to 8 in. long, half or less than half as much wide; dark shining green above except when young, clothed permanently beneath with a thick white wool; veins netted, prominent beneath. Racemes clustered at ends of the branches, each 4 to 8 in. long and bearing five to eight or more flower-heads which are up to 1 in. wide and dark brownish purple. There are no ray-florets. Salmon, New Zealand Plants and Flowers in Colour, t. 460.

Native of New Zealand, where it is regarded as one of the most handsome of the daisy bushes. It was discovered on Mt Hikurangi by Colenso at altitudes up to 5,000 ft, so hardy forms must exist. But the garden stock probably came from Stewart Island, where it forms an important part of the vegetation near the sea, and attains the dimensions of a small tree. This form is tender, and rare in the British Isles, though it flourishes at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly, where there are several plants about 15 ft high. At Kew it needs the protection of a cool greenhouse.

O. × traillii Kirk O. angustifolia × O. colensoi. – Differs from O. colensoi in its narrower leaves and in the presence of white ray-florets. It is a shrub or small tree and grows 10 to 20 ft high. It was discovered by T. Kirk in 1883 and among the localities where it is found are Puysegue Point, South Island, and Stewart Island, whence seeds were sent to this country in 1932 by Mr Stead.

O. lyallii Hook. f. – This differs from O. colensoi in its larger stature, being a shrub or tree up to 30 ft high, and in its broadly elliptic leaves 4 to 10 in. long. It is known only from the Snares and Auckland Islands to the south of New Zealand, and would certainly be tender in this country.



Other species in the genus