Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Pachystegia insignis

 The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah - January

Common name Marlborough rock daisy, Marlborough daisy
Scientific name Pachystegia insignis (Hook.f.) Cheeseman
Family  Asteraceae

The name refers to the location of the plant and its rocky habitat.

Genus: Pachystegia - from the Greek: pachys, thick, stout; stege, shelter. Possibly in reference to the protective thick tomentum.

Species: insignis - Latin: distinguished by, remarkable for, outstanding, noted, striking. In reference to its showy nature.

Distribution New Zealand, in the north-east Marlborough region of the South Island, between the Wairau and the Waiau rivers and inland to Molesworth Station, from the coast to 900 m altitude.
Native habitat Mostly on dry, rocky coastal cliffs with plenty of wind and salt-laden air.
Description Covered in a silvery-white, woolly tomentum, said to conserve moisture and protect from summer drought, dark green, glossy leaves are revealed as the new foliage ages and flowers open to clean, white outer ray florets and a well-defined inner, yellow button of disc florets. Suited to well-drained, open, sunny sites this somewhat trailing shrub may reach half a metre in height and width.
Flowering/fruiting  Flowers between November and January.


Bed CP46, between the car park and the Visitor Centre entrance; Bed NZL99a, between the Sphagnum Bog and the cascade through the rock garden and near the entrance gate to the garden.


Described as Olearia insignis in 1855 by J.D.Hooker. Cheeseman, recognising distinguishing characteristics, erected the genus Pachystegia in 1925. Within the natural range seismic activity produces freshly fractured sandstone and mudstone high in readily soluble calcium-bound phosphorus, resulting in a fertile soil suited to these ‘calcicoles’. They are equally ‘at home’ on the basalt-derived, mineral rich soils at Mount Tomah.

A naturally low germination rate means fresh seed is recommended for best results. Propagation from cuttings is challenging and plants are seldom available in the nursery trade. Once established, and they can be grown in tall pots, a possible lifespan up to forty years has been suggested. Our specimen in the New Zealand limestone bed was planted in 1987.