Plant of the Month — November 2007
Leucophyta brownii Cass.
This delightful, densely branched, small silvery-grey bush is a plant of coastal sands. Its range extends from Yanchep in the north, follows the coast south and east, and comes to an end on islands east of Esperance in the Great Australian Bight. It grows to about 1m high and during summer shows tiny, tubular yellow flowers aggregated in terminal, globular heads which have a creamy, felted appearance.
Plants of the genus Leucophyta are members of the Asteraceae (Daisy) family and are endemic to Australia. The genus name is derived from the Greek leucos, white or grey and phyta, plant, reflecting the overall impression of the bush. The species name of brownii is in honour of Robert Brown, botanist and renowned explorer of Australia.
As Leucophyta brownii enjoys coastal conditions, it can withstand harsh winds, limestone soils and is drought- and salt-tolerant. With its silvery foliage, compact habit and attractive flowers, it is the perfect pick as a feature for coastal gardens. Use it as a border or featured in a rockery or in a hanging basket; local councils frequently use it to withstand the harsh conditions of median strips. Leucophyta brownii is a favourite of native plant nurseries — no coastal garden should be without at least one.
Photo: K.C. Richardson
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