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Olearia virgata (Hook, f.) Hook. f.

Modern name

Olearia virgata (Hook.f.) Hook.f.


Eurybia virgata Hook. f.

An evergreen shrub up to 10 or 15 ft high and as much wide, often forming dense tangled bushes; young shoots very slender, wiry, usually four-angled and glabrous. Leaves opposite or in opposite clusters, narrowly obovate, 316 to 34 in. long, 18 to 38 in. wide, rounded or abruptly narrowed to a point at the apex, tapered at the base, upper surface usually glabrous and dark green, lower surface clothed with white felt; stalk very short or absent. Flower-heads in opposite clusters, each about 16 in. long and wide and borne on very short downy stalks. Florets in each head five to twelve; ray-florets three to six, yellowish white. Outer scales of the involucre in about three rows, linear-oblong, usually silky-downy. Cheeseman, Ill. New Zealand Fl., t. 91; Salmon, New Zealand Plants and Flowers in Colour, t. 107.

Native of New Zealand in the North and South Islands, from sea-level up to 3,000 ft altitude. This curious shrub has no great beauty and is chiefly interesting for its long, slender, wire-like branches furnished with small leaves and clusters of short flower-heads which open during May and June in this country.

O. virgata and O. odorata are closely related, but the latter has terete branchlets, broader leaves, many more (20 to 25) florets in each head, and the outer scales of the involucre are viscid and glandular. O. virgata itself is a very variable species. Allan in Flora of New Zealand recognises seven named varieties.

var. lineata Kirk O. lineata (Kirk) Ckn. – This variety differs in the more slender and pendulous branchlets, which are often downy when young. Still more does it differ in the opposite leaf-clusters being set farther apart, and in the narrowness of the leaves themselves, which are only 124 to 116 in. wide, but from 12 to 2 in. long. The ray-florets are about twice as many in each head as in the typical state of the species, and number from eight to fourteen. Native of the South Island of New Zealand and of Stewart Island. This variety is more commonly met with in cultivation than the type. There is an example at Wakehurst Place in Sussex about 20 ft high. A plant at Messrs Hilliers’ West Hill Nursery, Winchester, was 27 ft high in 1967.

Olearia virgata

Olearia virgata



Other species in the genus