General Description: An erect, woolly, silvery, perennial herb, with crowded narrow leaves and showy gold and white, large, everlasting, paper ‘daisy flowers’.
Flowers and Fruit: Yellow, ‘daisy flowers’, to 40 mm across, showy, yellow flower-heads are surrounded by white papery bracts held on stems above the leaves, flowers September to February.
Conservation: [E] Endangered in Australia. [e] Endangered in Victoria. Hoary Sunray is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act 1999.
Site Preference and Tolerances: Occurs in a wide variety of grassland, woodland and forest habitats, generally on relatively heavy soils. In Victoria it occurs almost exclusively on acidic clay soils derived from basalt and occasionally on nearby sandy-clay soils derived from sedimentary material.
Life Span: Although perennial, this species dies back over summer and the plant survives as a perennial rootstock. Individual plants probably live for only a few years, and plant numbers can fluctuate widely between years. This species produces many small, short-lived seeds that are dependent on the presence of bare ground, free from heavy competition (particularly from grasses) for germination and establishment. In some areas, some disturbance is required for successful establishment, and seedlings often appear on areas that have been scraped.
Wildlife Value: Good butterfly food plant, used by Australian Painted Lady butterfly. Insects and ants are known to eat seeds and flowers are pollinated by insects.
Other Values and Uses: A very attractive rockery or container plant, it is useful as a cut or dried flower and looks lovely in wildflower areas. Prune hard after flowering if you need to promote bushiness.
Other Scientific Names: Helichrysum incanum, Helichrysum incanum var. tricolor, Helipterum albicans f. grampianum, Helipterum albicans f. purpureo-album, Helipterum albicans ssp. albicans var. incanum, Helipterum albicans subsp. albicans var. incanum, Helipterum albicans var. incanum, Leucochrysum albicans ssp. albicans var. tricolor
Other Common Names: White Sunray
Germination Information: Usually grows well in a few weeks without any treatment but germination increases with light so it is good to surface sow or only cover lightly with soil.