A modern reference to temperate woody plants, including updated content from this site and much new material, can be found at Trees and Shrubs Online.

Olearia × haastii Hook. f.

Modern name

Olearia haastii Hook.f.

An evergreen shrub of bushy, rounded habit 4 to 9 ft high; young branches covered with a close, greyish-white down. Leaves crowded on the branches, alternate, oval or ovate, 12 to 1 in. long, about half as wide, not toothed, rounded or blunt at the apex, thick and leathery, dark shining green and glabrous above, white-felted beneath; stalk about 18 in. long. Flower-heads produced during July and August in a series of axillary corymbose clusters standing out beyond the leaves, the whole forming a flattish cluster 2 to 3 in. across at the end of each twig. Ray-florets white, disk-florets yellow; each flower-head is 13 in. across. Bot. Mag., t. 6592.

A natural hybrid, native of New Zealand, rare in the wild, of which the parents are O. avicenniifolia and O. moschata. It was described by the younger Hooker from a specimen collected by Haast in Canterbury province, ‘near the glaciers of Lake Ohau’ at 4,000 to 4,500 ft altitude, and was introduced by Veitch of Exeter in 1858. This is the only olearia at Kew of proved hardiness. I have never seen it killed outright by cold, although in February 1895 it was cut to the ground, but sprang up again freely a few months later. It flowers when there are few shrubs in blossom, and its abundant white flowers show up well against the dark green leaves; they have besides the charm of a sweet hawthorn-like fragrance. The flower-heads in the seeding state are covered with brown-grey down, which some people object to and cut off, as it persists through the winter. This shrub is admirable for maritime districts. In the late Sir Herbert Maxwell’s garden at Monreith some years ago I saw a specimen 9 ft high and 15 ft in diameter. I believe it thrives extremely well in the Orkneys. Pruning, which it bears well, should be done in early spring. It should consist merely of a shortening back of plants that have become lanky or too large for their place.

O. ‘Waikariensis’ O. waikariensis Hort.; O. waikensis Hort.; O. oleifolia Hort., not (?) Kirk – A compact shrub, 5 to 8 ft high; leaves elliptic, blunt, 2 to 3 in. long, silvery white beneath.

A hybrid of unknown origin, introduced from New Zealand in the 1930s. In aspect it recalls O. × haastii, but has longer leaves. It may in fact be, like O. × haastii, the result of a cross between O. avicenniifolia and O. moschata, and thus, strictly speaking, a nothomorph of O. × haastii. However, since its parentage is uncertain and it is horticulturally distinct, it is more convenient to leave it with a separate name. It is sometimes called O. oleifolia Kirk, which is said to be O. avicenniifolia crossed with O. odorata, but it is by no means certain that the plants in cultivation are identical with Kirk’s type, and the parentage ascribed to the latter is open to doubt.



Other species in the genus