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Olearia phlogopappa DC.

Modern name

Olearia phlogopappa (Labill.) DC.


Aster phlogopappa Labill.; Eurybia gunniana DC.; O. gunniana (DC.) Hook. f. ex Hook.;

An aromatic evergreen shrub 5 to 10 ft high, naturally much-branched; young shoots covered with a close white felt. Leaves alternate, oblong or narrowly obovate, 12 to 214 in. long, about one-fourth as wide, roundish at the apex, tapering towards the base, the margins sinuously or very shallowly toothed, dark dull green above, white or ashen grey, obscurely veined and closely felted beneath; very shortly stalked. Flower-heads 1 to 114 in. across, produced in erect, loose, slender-stalked corymbs. Ray-florets ten to sixteen, white, sometimes pink, mauve or blue. Bot. Mag., t. 4638, as O. gunniana.

Native of Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales; introduced to Kew about 1848. O. phlogopappa is the earliest olearia to flower (late April and early May). The form originally introduced has white flowers and survives most winters near London in a sheltered position. But in recent years it has given way in gardens to O. × scilloniensis (q.v.) and to the cultivars described below.

O. phlogopappa ‘Splendens’ Group O. gunniana var. splendens Comber; O. stellulata ‘Splendens’ – During his expedition to Tasmania (1929-30), Harold Comber found some forms of O. phlogopappa with flowers ranging in colour from white, pale pink, deep pink, mauve, purple to blue. The seed he sent home germinated freely and these olearias are now well established in cultivation. They may be referred to collectively as the ‘Splendens’ group of cultivars; they differ from the white-flowered plants of the old introduction not only in their flower-colour but also in their generally smaller leaves, up to 112 in. long. They are also, unfortunately, less hardy and less vigorous. Mature plants should be lightly pruned after flowering.

var. subrepanda (DC.) J. H. Willis Eurybia subrepanda DC. – An alpine variant with short, more or less obovate leaves, up to 12 in. long, very short leafy peduncles and often quite solitary flower-heads. Morcombe, Australias Wildflowers, t., p. 22.

Native of Victoria and Tasmania. Of denser habit than the type and hardier.

O. lirata (Sims) Hutch, (in error as “lyrata”) Aster liratus Sims – Very distinct from O. phlogopappa in its larger, lanceolate (not oblong) leaves, 3 to 5 in. long, 12 to 1 in. wide, light green and shiny above, densely felted beneath. Flower-heads about 34 in. across, in rounded terminal clusters; ray-florets twelve to fifteen, white. Bot. Mag., t. 1509, as Aster liratus.

Native of Australia (Victoria and New South Wales), also of Tasmania. It was cultivated by Loddiges of Hackney as a greenhouse plant in 1813, but has never been common. It is hardy only in the mildest parts, and is not so well worth cultivation as its nearest allies.

O. nernstii (F. v. Muell.) F. v. Muell. ex Benth. Aster nernstii F. v. Muell. – A viscid shrub; leaves oblong-lanceolate, narrow, 1 to 3 in. long, pointed, rather thin, smooth and shining green above, loosely stellate-tomentose beneath. Flower-heads in terminal clusters; ray-florets fifteen to twenty, white.

A native of New South Wales and Queensland. Probably only hardy in the mildest districts.

O. stellulata (Labill.) DC. Aster stellulatus Labill. – This resembles O. phlogopappa in leaf-shape, but the leaves are larger, 2 to 4 in. long, 14 to 12 in. wide, distinctly veined and with a fuzzy yellowish tomentum beneath.

A native of E. Australia, from Queensland to Tasmania. It is taller and less compact than O. phlogopappa. Most references to “O. stellulata” in horticultural literature refer not to this species but to O. phlogopappa.

Olearia phlogopappa

Olearia phlogopappa



Other species in the genus