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Olearia ramulosa Benth.

Modern name

Olearia ramulosa (Labill.) Benth.


Aster ramulosus Labill.; O. ramulosa var. communis Benth.

A much-branched evergreen shrub 3 to 5 ft high, with graceful, very slender, arching shoots, which are usually more or less bristly, also often cottony and glandular. Leaves alternate, linear to linear-obovate, 116 to 38 in. long, 112 in. wide, margins recurved, dark green and at first slightly woolly or minutely warted above, permanently woolly beneath; stalk 18 in. or less long. Flower-heads 58 in. wide, solitary on very short leafy twigs; ray-florets pure white or sometimes blue, three to fifteen in number, linear; disk-florets white, with yellow anthers. Bot. Mag., t. 8205, as var. communis.

Native of Tasmania and Australia. It has long been cultivated, having flowered in a garden near Paris as long ago as 1822. It was treated as a cool greenhouse plant at Kew where it flowered from February onwards. It is grown out-of-doors in specially favoured places in the south-west, but must be regarded as one of the tenderest of the olearias. The flowers stand erect on the arching shoots and make very elegant sprays. H. F. Comber found it in dry, open pastures in Tasmania, fully exposed to the sun. In flower, he observes, the plant became simply a white mass.

O. algida N. A. Wakefield – This differs from O. ramulosa in having leaves only 112 to 18 in. long, borne in dense, lateral clusters, and in its slender, never bristly but usually slightly cottony branches. Leaves grey-green or glaucous, triangular, broadest at the base, thick, with revolute margins. Ray-florets three or four, white. Murray, Alp. Fl. Kosciusko State Park, t. 8, as O. floribunda.

Native of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.

O. ciliata (Benth.) F. v. Muell. ex Benth. Eurybia ciliata Benth. – A small, non-glandular shrub with roughly hairy stems; leaves in fascicles, heath-like, linear, sharp-pointed, 13 to 23 in. long; flower-heads solitary on slender 2 to 512 in. long peduncles. Involucral bracts pointed, ciliate; ray-florets about twenty, white or blue. Bot. Mag., t. 8191.

A native of temperate Australia, including Tasmania; introduced from Western Australia in 1899, by Sgt Goadby of the Royal Engineers, ‘who whilst stationed in that State collected specimens and seeds of many interesting plants for Kew’.

O. ericoides (Steetz) N. A. Wakefield Eurybia ericoides Steetz; O. ramulosa var. communis Benth., in part – Like O. ramulosa, but leaves and stems very viscid and the leaves closely revolute. It is a small shrub up to 3 ft high; leaves 18 to 14 in. long, lower surface woolly but obscured by recurved margin and a viscid yellow secretion. Flower-heads solitary, about 34 in. across, terminal on branches and short laterals; ray-florets about twelve, bluish or white. Curtis, Endemic Fl. Tasmania, Part I, No 18.

An endemic of Tasmania, not yet established in cultivation.

O. glandulosa (Labill.) Benth. Aster glandulosus Labill. – An aromatic shrub 3 to 7 ft high, distinguished by the glandular tubercles on the young shoots and along the margins of the narrowly linear leaves, which are otherwise glabrous and 34 to 214 in. long. Flower-heads small, in terminal corymbose panicles; ray-florets twelve to twenty, white or bluish.

A native of temperate Australia, including Tasmania. A swamp-loving species, flowering in August. It was introduced early in the 1960s by the late Lord Talbot de Malahide, but according to him its flowers do not make much show and it is likely to be tender.

O. floribunda (Hook, f.) Benth. Eurybia floribunda Hook. f. – Like O. ramulosa but branches and lower surface of the leaves cottony, never bristly; from O. algida it differs in the bright to dark green, oblanceolate or oblong leaves, 112 to 18 in. long, in loose lateral clusters, with almost flat or only narrowly recurved margins. Flower-heads solitary and sessile on very short laterals, numerous, forming large compound panicles; ray-florets three to four, white. Hooker, Fl. Tasman., Vol. 1, t. 45, fig. B.

A native of S.E. Australia and of Tasmania, whence H. F. Comber sent seeds during his expedition in 1929-30. It is an interesting and attractive shrub, with foliage that has been likened to that of Fabiana imbricata, bearing its flowers in plume-like panicles. It is rather tender and said to be short-lived in cultivation, but cuttings strike readily. It received an Award of Merit when shown from Nymans, Sussex, on May 21, 1935.

O. hookeri (Sond.) Benth. Eurybia hookeri Sond. – A slender, viscid shrub up to 3 ft high, glabrous except for microscopic glands. Leaves alternate, narrow-linear, 18 to 14 in. long, rounded at the tip. Flower-heads solitary, sessile on the ends of leafy branches; ray-florets eight to ten, conspicuous, bluish purple. Curtis, Endem. Fl. Tasm., Pt. IV, No. 124.

An endemic of Tasmania, not yet established in cultivation.



Other species in the genus