Brachyscome graminea

Stiff Daisy, Grass Daisy

Family: Asteraceae

Brachyscome graminea is a herbaceous and spreading perennial daisy and groundcover, to 70 cm high, spreading by stolons and producing suckers.

In NSW, it is found mainly on the central and southern coastal and tablelands regions, with a disjunction on the Northern Tablelands. In the former, it spreads south from around Gosford and Bathurst, through to most of Victoria and into South Australia (around Mt Gambier and east of Adelaide). On the Northern Tablelands, it grows around Armidale and further west as well as south-east. It is also found around most of coastal Tasmania.

It mainly grows in moister areas such as bogs, swamps and creeklines, as well as wet cliff faces including alpine areas, in moist sclerophyll shrubland and woodland.

Brachyscome spp. have simple and alternate leaves which can have intact to strongly divided shapes (pinnatisect). In this species, the leaves are linear and up to 15 cm long and only about 1 cm wide.

Brachyscome spp. are in the daisy family and therefore produce flowers in an inflorescence called a capitulum (often referred to as a ‘head’). This is an evolved structure where a large number of modified flowers (florets) are grouped together to look like one flower. The Sunflower (*Helianthus annuus) would be the most grandiose example. The ‘petals’ of the capitula are actually ‘ray florets’ which contain a floret hidden inside the elongated ‘petal’ which is actually an extended limb of the corolla tube called a ligule. The disc in the middle of the capitulum (often yellow or orange in colour) consists of very small ‘disc florets’ which have a small 3-5 lobed corolla tube with stamens and a carpel. A frequent associated part of any capitulum is an involucre (overlapping rows) of bracts which typically subtend and surround the floral parts. In this species, the capitula are about 15 – 20 mm diameter, consisting of purple to mauve ray florets and yellow disc florets, and occur on thin, leafless stalks. Flowers are seen mainly in spring, but occur sporadically at other times.

The fruits of many daisies is an achene. In many species, the achene is light-weight, consisting of a thin woody coat surrounded the seed and with a ‘pappus’ of fine hairs or bristles attached (resembling a parachute). In this species, they are about 2.5 mm long and sticky.

In the garden

The author has been growing the pale-mauve flowering form for many years and has found it to be the best of all the cultivars and hybrids, by far, as it is tolerant of dry conditions and responses well to some moisture and it long flowering.

Grows best in a sunny frost free position but will tolerate shadier positions but will grow more open. Has a suckering habit that allows it creep along your garden to positions it prefers.

Pest free and popular with stingless bees.


By cutting or division.

Other information

This taxon has recently being reclassified and used to be Brachyscome angustifolia var. angustifolia.

Brachyscome angustifolia var. heterophylla has been split into B. triloba, B. brownii and B. sieberi.

The name of Brachyscome angustifolia is no longer used in NSW.

The genus name is spelled Brachycome by some authors. Henri Cassini published the name Brachyscome in 1816, forming it from the classical Greek brachys (βραχύς) (pronounced vrachys) (meaning “short”) and kome (κόμη)(meaning “hair”), a reference to the very short pappus bristles on the achenes. Because the combining form of brachys in Greek compound words is brachy-, Cassini later corrected the spelling to Brachycome. Australian taxonomists still debate whether Cassini’s corrected spelling is admissible under the rules of botanical nomenclature. A proposal to conserve Brachycome was rejected in 1993 by the Committee for Spermatophyta. Hence, the spelling remains Brachyscome.

Brachyscome is a genus of about 65 species, occurring in Australia (all states and territories), New Zealand and Papau New Guinea. NSW currently has around 60 species.

Many culitivars are available and their leaf shape is a good indication of their parents as B. graminea is quite striking.

Likely regenerates from seed after fire.

Brachyscome – from the Greek vrachys (βραχύς), meaning “short” and come (κόμη), a tuft of hairs, referring to the short pappus on the achenes (fruits) of the genus (which is a feature of many Asteraceae members).

graminea – Latin meaning “grass-like” or “grasses” – referring to the leaves.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – Brachyscome graminea profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/brachyscome_graminea.htm

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Brachyscome graminea profile page

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.