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Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius (Labill.) DC.

Modern name

Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius (Labill.) Sweet


Helichrysum rosmarinifolium (Labill.) Steud. ex Benth.; Helichrysum purpurascens Hort., in part, not (DC). W. M. Curtis; H. rosmarinifolium var. purpurascens Hort.

An evergreen shrub 3 to 10 ft high, with slender erect branches, more or less woolly when young. Leaves crowded, linear, mucronate, with closely revolute margins, 12 to 112 in. long, up to 112 in. wide, rough on the upper surface with small projecting points (muricate), woolly beneath. Flower-heads numerous in dense corymbs at the ends of the main and upper lateral branches. Involucral bracts sparsely hairy, light brown with usually a marked crimson-red tinge, especially in bud, the inner with small white radiating tips; florets five to seven.

Native of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, on wet peaty heaths and along watercourses; seeds were collected by H. Comber during his expedition to Tasmania in 1929-30, but it may have been introduced earlier. Although not reliably hardy, it should survive most winters and has grown for many years in sunny positions at Wakehurst Place in Sussex. Its most striking feature is the rich red colouration of the involucral bracts as the inflorescences begin to expand around midsummer. Award of Merit June 18, 1968, when exhibited by Lord Talbot de Malahide.

O. rosmarinifolius has been confused with the more tender O. purpurascens, which differs in being strongly aromatic, with much shorter leaves (rarely much more than 12 in. long), with a smooth upper surface. It should also be pointed out that until recently the name Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius or Helichrysum rosmarinifolium was used in gardens for the species properly known as O. thyrsoideus.

O. diosmifolius (Vent.) DC. Helichrysum diosmifolium (Vent.) Sweet – An erect evergreen shrub to 10 ft; branches shortly rough-hairy, also woolly when young. Leaves linear, closely revolute, up to 34 in. long, usually rough on the upper surface with small projecting points, woolly beneath. Flower-heads in terminal corymbs; involucral bracts milky-white, the outermost often with a pinkish tinge, opaque, stiff, incurved and of more or less uniform texture, without distinct radiating tips, at length spreading but not reflexed; florets twenty to thirty.

A native of south-eastern Queensland and New South Wales, doubtfully hardy in Britain, and not known for certain to be in cultivation at the time of writing. The name (or Helichrysum diosmifolium) has been used in gardens for O. thyrsoideus and for O. purpurascens.

Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius

Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius



Other species in the genus