Leucochrysum albicans

Scientific name: Leucochrysum albicans

Author: Paul Graham Wilson (1928- )

Common name: A Hoary Sunray

Family: Asteraceae


Leucochrysum albicans   


Taking the path from the large pond to the Northern Pavilion may afford you a glimpse of these daisies as you pass the top of Australian Woodland bed AW196. Returning from the Northern Pavilion via the wood-chipped pathway will lead you through the middle of this bed. Here, the full impact of this drift of cool-climate Hoary Sunrays, Leucochrysum albicans, can best be appreciated.

Our Senior Horticulturist in charge of this area is a keen native plant enthusiast. He is creating an understorey in our small woodland that reflects some of the plant communities you may encounter elsewhere in natural habitats. So, here you see this cascade of daisies looking very natural indeed.

The ‘daisy’ plant family Asteraceae, which we once knew as Compositae, includes many types of Paper Daisy like Leucochrysum. The name Helipterum (from the Greek, helios, ‘sun’ and, pteron, ‘wing’ or ‘feather’) was once used for our feature plant. Now called Leucochrysum (from the Greek, leuco, ‘white’ and chrysos, ‘gold’) the colours of the flower heads are described; the Latin, albico, ‘to become white’ gives us the species name. The flowers, many to each bloom, form the yellow button at the centre of the bloom, while what appear to be the petals are in fact modified leaves.

There are subspecies and varieties of Leucochrysum albicans and some are rare and threatened so, please do not collect seed or plants from the wild. Reputable nurseries supply this sun-loving plant which can survive in a variety of habitats, in temperate areas with good drainage.