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An evergreen shrub found up to 8 ft high in the wild state, usually much less with us; young shoots stout and, like the undersurface of the leaves and leaf-stalks, densely clothed with a soft white felt, giving them a texture like that of chamois leather. Leaves oblong, sometimes inclined to ovate, rounded or tapered at the base, rounded to blunt at the apex, entire or obscurely wavy, 11⁄2 to 4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. wide, dark green and glabrous above except for the felted margins; stalk 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. long. Panicles terminal, 4 to 6 in. long, 2 to 5 in. wide, bearing numerous flower-heads each about 1 in. wide, the ray-florets twelve to fifteen and of a rich clear yellow; main and secondary flower-stalks glandular-downy, as are also the bracts they bear.
Native of New Zealand in the North Island. It is most closely akin to S. laxifolius, from which it is perhaps not specifically distinct, but typical S. greyi can be distinguished from typical S. laxifolius by the broader leaves less tapered at the base, by the glandular-hairy flower-stalks and involucral bracts, and by the leaves at the base of the inflorescence having a broad sessile base. In S. laxifolius and in S. Dunedin Hybrids the leaves at the bases of the main branches of the inflorescence are narrowed to a short stalk; by this feature, glandular variants of the latter may also be distinguished from S. greyi proper. In spite of this, the name S. greyi has been widely applied in horticultural circles to what are in reality S. Dunedin Hybrids, and true S. greyi is much less commonly met with in cultivation in the British Isles than perusal of the horticultural literature would lead one to believe. S. greyi is less hardy than both S. laxifolius and the hybrids, being a native of the northern, warmer part of New Zealand at altitudes not exceeding 1,500 ft, or only half those attained by S. laxifolius in the South Island. But S. greyi is perhaps the most beautiful of all the New Zealand senecios in cultivation. It gives a blaze of yellow about midsummer and there is often a second crop in autumn. It is admirable along the south coast, even in places exposed to the sea. There was a fine plant 15 ft in diameter in a garden at Monreith in Wigtownshire.
S. ‘Leonard Cockayne’ S. greyi Hook. f. × S. reinoldii Endl. – An evergreen much-branched shrub 6 to 10 ft high; young shoots, leaf-stalks and undersides of leaves densely clad with soft white felt. Leaves broadly elliptic to ovate, more or less rounded at the base, shiny green above when mature, 31⁄2 to 6 in. long, 21⁄4 to 31⁄2 in. wide; stalks 1 to 21⁄2 in. long. Flower-heads in large terminal corymbose panicles; flower-heads about 5⁄8 in. wide, with eight to ten recurving ray-florets about 1⁄4 in. long.
A hybrid of garden origin, more or less intermediate between the parents, distinguished by its short, deeply toothed ray-florets. Not known for certain to be in cultivation in the British Isles, but grown in New Zealand gardens for its handsome foliage.