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Ozothamnus thyrsoideus DC.

Modern name

Ozothamnus thyrsoideus DC.


Helichrysum thyrsoideum (DC.) Willis & Morris; H. rosmarinifolium Hort., not (Labill.) Benth.; O. rosmarinifolius Hort., not (Labill.) DC.; H. diosmifolium Hort., in part, not (Vent.) Sweet

An evergreen shrub 6 to 9 ft high, with ribbed, glutinous young branches. Leaves narrowly linear, alternate, closely set on the branches, 12 to 2 in. long, dark green and resinous above, paler beneath with fine appressed down, except for the conspicuous green midrib and margins, which are narrowly recurved. Flower-heads crowded in dense rounded corymbs 12 to 34 in. across, produced from June to August at the ends of short side-shoots; each flower-head is about 16 in. wide, with the innermost bracts with white, radiating tips which impart a snowy whiteness to the inflorescence, the outer bracts papery, pale brown; florets ten to sixteen.

Native of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, widespread; introduced to Britain early in the 19th century. It is not reliably hardy, and near London is safer with the protection of a wall, though some gardeners in south-eastern England have found it hardy in the open ground. Plants from the seeds collected by Comber in Tasmania in 1929-30 at 1,500 ft are perhaps hardier than the older forms, and have withstood 20° F. of frost without protection.

Where it thrives, this is a beautiful shrub. About midsummer every little twig is terminated by its cluster of blossoms, which as a whole almost hide the plant in a snow-white sheet. It is popularly known as ‘snow in summer’. The flowers are practically everlasting; I have specimens collected, dried, and pressed over thirty years ago, which are still pure white. For room decoration long sprays should be cut, hung upside down in a place as free as possible from dust, and allowed to become dry and rigid. After a few weeks they may be taken down and arranged in the ordinary way in vases, where the flowers will remain white and beautiful for many months, no water of course being needed.

O. thyrsoideus received an Award of Merit when shown by Sir William Lawrence of Burford Court, Dorking, on June 23, 1925, under the name O. rosmarinifolius, by which it was once commonly known in gardens; it has also been called Helichrysum diosmifolium, but both names properly belong to other species.

O. secundiflorus (N. A. Wakefield) C. Jeffrey, comb. nov. Helichrysum secundiflorum N. A. Wakefield in Vict. Nat. 68: 49 (1951) – This species, like the preceding, differs from O. ledifolius and its immediate allies in its flatter leaf-blades, with only narrowly recurved margins. It is an evergreen shrub to 6 ft high, with white-woolly branches. Leaves oblong-linear to narrowly wedge- shaped, up to 716 in. long, sparsely downy above, densely woolly beneath. Flower-heads very numerous in clusters on the short lateral branches, facing outwards, forming very long floriferous sprays, sweet-scented; involucral bracts brownish red, the inner with conspicuous radiating white tips; florets about fifteen.

Native of the mountains of New South Wales and Victoria. It is related to O. thyrsoideus but is not resinous and is much more hairy. A plant of unknown origin is in cultivation at Kew on the Australian House terrace.



Other species in the genus