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An evergreen shrub or small tree from 15 to 35 ft high in the wild; young shoots four-angled, clothed with a silvery-white, closely appressed felt as are also the leaves beneath, the leaf-stalks, and the flower-stalks. Leaves opposite, obovate or oval, tapered at both ends, but usually more abruptly towards the mucronate apex, quite untoothed, leathery, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, at first furnished with appressed silky hairs above, but ultimately quite glabrous and bright dark green; stalk 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 in. long. Panicles 1 to 2 in. long, produced during June in the leaf-axils and carrying usually five to twelve flower-heads, each 1⁄4 in. long. From five to fifteen florets occur in each head, the outer ones of which are female. There are no ray-florets and the dull greyish flowers have little beauty. Kirk, For. Fl. New Zeal., t. 34.
Native of the Chatham Islands, where it was discovered in 1840. Although this olearia has so little flower beauty to recommend it, the fine silvery sheen beneath the leaves is quite attractive. It is a free grower where the conditions suit it, and it has proved hardy at Kew but not on other inland sites. It thrives in the milder counties and is especially adapted for the seaside. At Castlewellan in Co. Down there is a specimen measuring 34 × 41⁄4 ft (1966). Even on the east coast as far north as Scarborough, it succeeds in exposed situations if planted close to the sea. It is well distinguished by its short-stalked, opposite leaves, numerous short axillary panicles, and squarish twigs.