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Olearia insignis Hook. f.

Modern name

Pachystegia insignis (Hook.f.) Cheeseman


Pachystegia insignis (Hook. f.) Cheesem.

A low, spreading, evergreen shrub, described as growing 6 ft high in the wild; young shoots thick and, like the undersurface of the leaves, leaf-stalks and flower-stalks, clothed with a white or pale brown woolly felt. Leaves crowded at the ends of the shoots, very stout and leathery, entire, oval or obovate, tapered, rounded, or slightly heart-shaped at the base, blunt at the apex, 3 to 7 in. long, about half as wide, upper surface at first woolly, ultimately dark glossy green and glabrous except on the midrib and margins; stalk stout, 12 to 2 in. long. Flower-heads produced from the end of the shoot or in the terminal leaf-axils; each solitary on a slender stalk 4 to 8 in. long. Each flower-head is 112 to 212 in. wide; the ray-florets very numerous in two or more rows, white, linear, toothed at the end, 12 in. long. Disk-florets very crowded, forming a yellow centre to the flower-head 114 in. wide. Outer scales small, overlapping, woolly, arranged in many rows. Bot. Mag., t. 7034.

Native of New Zealand on the South Island up to 4,000 ft altitude; discovered by Capt. Rough about 1850. A very handsome species, distinct from most olearias by reason of its large leaves; its large, white and yellow, long-stalked flower-heads; and large egg-shaped involucre of very numerous scales beneath the flower-head. As many as five heads may be borne on one shoot and they open in summer. It is not really happy out-of-doors at Kew although it survives at the foot of a warm wall. It is well worth cultivation wherever it can be grown. Blooms about August.

var. minor Cheesem. – A dwarf plant, with leaves up to 4 in. long and smaller flower-heads on more slender peduncles.

O. megalophylla (F. v. Muell.) F. v. Muell. ex Benth. Eurybia megalophylla F. v. Muell. – A shrub to 3 ft high; leaves opposite, elliptic to oblong, leathery, reticulated above, grey- or brown-felted beneath, 2 to 4 in. long, 12 to 234 in. wide. Flower-heads rather large and numerous in terminal corymbs; ray-florets seven to twelve, white. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 665.

A native of Victoria and New South Wales. It is grown on a wall at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, but is still untested for hardiness.



Other species in the genus