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An evergreen shrub up to 10 or 15 ft high and as much wide, often forming dense tangled bushes; young shoots very slender, wiry, usually four-angled and glabrous. Leaves opposite or in opposite clusters, narrowly obovate, 3⁄16 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄8 to 3⁄8 in. wide, rounded or abruptly narrowed to a point at the apex, tapered at the base, upper surface usually glabrous and dark green, lower surface clothed with white felt; stalk very short or absent. Flower-heads in opposite clusters, each about 1⁄6 in. long and wide and borne on very short downy stalks. Florets in each head five to twelve; ray-florets three to six, yellowish white. Outer scales of the involucre in about three rows, linear-oblong, usually silky-downy. Cheeseman, Ill. New Zealand Fl., t. 91; Salmon, New Zealand Plants and Flowers in Colour, t. 107.
Native of New Zealand in the North and South Islands, from sea-level up to 3,000 ft altitude. This curious shrub has no great beauty and is chiefly interesting for its long, slender, wire-like branches furnished with small leaves and clusters of short flower-heads which open during May and June in this country.
O. virgata and O. odorata are closely related, but the latter has terete branchlets, broader leaves, many more (20 to 25) florets in each head, and the outer scales of the involucre are viscid and glandular. O. virgata itself is a very variable species. Allan in Flora of New Zealand recognises seven named varieties.
O. lineata (Kirk) Ckn