Plant of the Month – September 2014


(Calocephalus brownii)


(Photos: E. Cousins, Cape Jervis)

Low maintenance, wind and salt tolerant, highly dry weather tolerant, copes with sandy, loam or clay soils, loves sunshine, dislikes humidity … sounds like just the thing for a coastal garden at Cape Jervis! Add to these features its interesting textural form, and its silvery colour which reflects light at night. What more could you want, for, say, a border along a path, or a contrast to greener plants in your garden?

It’s a bushy, compact perennial shrub to about 75cm high. The stems are really just branches, since the leaves are pretty much invisible, they are so small. The summer flowers are round, and creamy in colour. The ‘brownii’ in the name is after a British botanist, not the colour of the plant. In fact, until recently, the plant was called Leucophyta brownii, from the Greek ‘leucos’ (white, grey) and ‘phyto’ (plant).