Saturday, November 7, 2015

Botany picture #217: Xerochrysum viscosum

The official golden everlasting, likely the economically most important ornamental daisy native to Australia, is Xerochrysum bracteatum. Here around Canberra, however, we have its congener X. viscosum, which has narrower, slightly sticky leaves.

Although X. bracteatum gets all the attention, I have always thought that X. viscosum is equally pretty, and of course if you want a paper daisy in your garden in Canberra it would probably be the better choice because it is well adapted to the local soil and climate.

What is missing are, of course, all the strange colour variants that X. bracteatum has been bred into. Xerochrysum viscosum is pretty much yellow, that's it. Or is it?

What prompted me to choose this species for the present post was that today, during our morning walk, we happened upon the above orange form. It was just one plant among hundreds of yellows, but certainly this kind of occasional sport must have been the basis for the breeding that was done in its better known relative. So there is potential; who know what other colour forms may crop up here and there?

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