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Olearia odorata Petrie

Modern name

Olearia odorata Petrie

A shrub up to 12 ft high, of thin, sparse habit, with wiry, terete, little-branched stems. Leaves opposite, spathulate, 12 to 112 in. long, 18 to 14 in. wide near the rounded apex, bright green and glabrous above, silvery beneath with appressed, white hairs, tapering at the base, almost sessile. Flower-heads 14 in. across, in opposite fascicles of two to five, borne on short, arrested, bud-like branches, which usually also carry a pair of leaves; they are scented and dull greyish brown; the bracts of the involucre brown and viscous glandular. Ray-florets up to twenty, white. Salmon, New Zealand Flowers and Plants in Colour, t. 455.

Native of the South Island of New Zealand, where it is very common in the lake district of Otago. It is a curious, not particularly ornamental shrub introduced in 1908 and put into commerce as ‘O. virgata’. The true O. virgata has four-angled instead of terete stems.

O. hectoris Hook. f. – This differs from 0. odorata in its deciduous habit, broadly elliptic leaves more than 38 in. wide, and yellowish flower-heads produced before the leaves. Salmon, New Zealand Flowers and Plants in Colour, t. 106.

A native of the South Island of New Zealand, distinct in the genus by its deciduous habit and precocious fragrant flowers.

O. fragrantissima Petrie – This differs from O. odorata in its dark reddish-brown bark, elliptic to obovate alternate leaves (opposite in O. odorata), and flower-heads in sessile or subsessile alternate clusters of up to twelve flower-heads; involucral bracts tomentose.

Native of the South Island of New Zealand.



Other species in the genus