Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yellow Sunray

Leucochrysum albicans
Sometimes, the names of flowers can be so inappropriate as to raise a smile.
Leucochrysum” is a name cobbled together out of two old Greek words. “Leukos” meaning white (familiar to us from “leukemia”, the disease of white blood cells), and “chrysos” meaning gold.
Albicans” is another reference to whiteness, and just to really rub it in, our local plant is Leocochrysum albicans subsp. albicans var. albicans!

This somewhat overdone insistence on whiteness is all very well for the people of New South Wales, where the petal-like bracts of the plants are actually white - but here in Queensland it is an all-yellow flower.

I photographed these a few weeks ago at the Bunya Mountains, where the plant grows among grasses on dry, open ridges in very well-drained soil.

Yellow sunray is a short-lived perennial, but is often grown as an annual as it will produce early spring flowers from autumn-sown seed, and continues to flower until March. It is a slender plant, with soft, grey-green leaves, and looks best if a number of plants are positioned in a group.

Once you have it in the garden, it would be a simple matter to save seed each year to plant in April.

No comments: