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An evergreen shrub of bushy habit, sometimes a small tree up to 20 ft high; young shoots covered with a whitish soft down, which persists to the second year and becomes brown. Leaves alternate, very leathery, mostly ovate or inclined to oblong, abruptly pointed or blunt at the apex, rounded or broadly tapered and often unequal at the base, margins undulate, entire or remotely and shallowly toothed, 2 to 4 in. long, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, glabrous and dark glossy green above, lustrous beneath with a closely appressed down; leaf-stalk 1⁄2 to 1 in. long. Flower-heads numerously produced in axillary, much-branched corymbs 3 to 5 in. wide, the main-stalk up to 6 or 8 in. long. Each head is 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. wide, carrying two to five ray-florets and three to seven disk-florets, the former white, oblong, 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long; the latter yellow. March and April. Salmon, New Zealand Flowers and Plants in Colour, t. 108.
Native of the North Island, New Zealand. In its shining green foliage – in size and colouring rather like that of a Portugal laurel, only stiffer and shining grey-white beneath – this olearia is quite handsome, and its flowers are abundant enough to give a pleasing effect. It survives cold winters in a sheltered spot at Kew, but is, of course, happier farther south and west. Among cultivated olearias it comes nearest to O. arborescens, but that species has thinner, less leathery leaves, whose margins are usually more conspicuously wavy and toothed and whose flowers each carry fifteen to twenty disk-florets.