Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Bartlettina sordida

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - September

Common name

blue mist flower

Scientific name Bartlettina sordida (Less.) R.M. King & H. Rob. formerly Eupatorium megalophyllum



Genus: Bartlettina - for Harley Harris Bartlett (1886-1960 ) botanist at Ann Arbor, Michigan

Species: sordida - neglected, dirty looking

Distribution Mexico
Native habitat Native to the cloud forests of Mexico.
Description Evergreen shrub to about 2 m tall and as wide, with many strong stems arising from the base. Leaves simple, opposite, broad-ovate, 15-25 cm long, 15-20 cm wide. Margin serrate-dentate, venation prominent beneath, with a thick, purple tomentum when young.
Flowering/fruiting Flowering September to November.

Location in Garden

Growing in beds 29, 30, 31, 32, 33b, 34, 36b and many other locations in Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.
Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


Bartlettina sordida has been growing in the Spring Walk at the Garden for at least 100 years. Early photographs show it growing in the mixed border with azaleas.

Because of the large mauve flower heads and the fact that it is happy in dappled shade, this plant makes a dramatic contribution to any perennial border.

This plant needs a deep, well drained soil with a high organic matter content. It is intolerant of dry conditions and prefers dappled shade. It needs protection from afternoon sun, especially in summer.

Successful propagation is achieved from semihardwood cuttings taken in autumn and winter or from prunings taken after flowering in late spring.

Bartlettina sordida seed has a fluffy pappus and is easily dispersed by wind. It also grows from layers and therefore has significant weed potential, especially where there is ample moisture.

Inflorescence a terminal corymbose panicle, 20-30 cm across. Mildly perfumed.

This plant is presently not available from the Growing Friends.

Bartlettina sordida