A soft-wooded perennial daisy that can reach up to 2 metres in height with a very narrow spread. Plants are often found growing in colonies in the wild. The stems are white and woolly.
It has a mostly coastal distribution in NSW, growing along the entire coastal subdivisions from border to border and as far west as areas such as Tenterfield (and a bit further west), Lithgow-Kandos and Braidwood. It extends into eastern-Victoria, growing as far west as around Bairnsdale. It extends into Queensland, growing in scattered patches to as far north as Cairns.
It tends to be found in dry sclerophyll to wet sclerophyll forests, on sandy and more enriched soils, often on slopes.
Coronidium spp. have simple and alternate leaves (sometimes crowded) with are usually intact and entire. In this species, the leaves are ovate to elliptic, to 12 cm long and 2 cm wide; crowded along stems, strongly blue-green in colour with distinctly different sides, glabrous and darker above and covered in woolly hairs below.
Coronidium 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. In Coronidium, however, ray florets are absent and with only the disc florets present, which are surrounded by rows of papery bracts (an involucre of bracts). In this species, the capitula are produced solitarily or in cymes of up to 4 or 5 at the terminals, and are very showy, to about 4 cm across, with the central disc yellow and the papery bracts bright white, each to about 2 cm long.
The fruits are cypselas (a fruit which is almost all-seed), cylindrical and 4-ribbed and only about 3 mm long with a pappus of bristles to aid dispersal.
This is a very showy plant and stands out when encountered in its natural environment. It is known to be propagated and sold and native nurseries.
Native cottage gardens and rockeries would benefit from the addition of this colourful, if short-lived, daisy.
In our cold climate garden (near Armidale, NSW), White Everlasting Daisies survive for two growing seasons. After this, plants “run out of steam”. We now treat this species as an annual.
This Editor tried to grow it once in a sandy but poor-draining garden. They soon died. A second attempt will be made on better draining soil.
It is best grown on a well-draining soil with some reliable moisture and does well in some shade.
Pruning can cause plants to branch and spread out laterally.
Propagate from seed and cuttings. As with most daisies, cuttings take root rapidly. Seed is available from any plant in large supply.
This species used to be known as Helichrysum elatum. The genus name was changed in 2008 by Paul G. Wilson.
There are currently 3 varieties rcognised in NSW:
This species regenerates en masse after fire from seed. It may then die down in numbers as the bushland regenerates.
There is at least one cultivar called ‘Sunny Side Up”
Coronidium is a genus of 17 species endemic to eastern Australia mainly. Two species are found in south-eastern South Australia (one of these in Tasmania). NSW currently has 8 species.
Coronidium – referring to Corona – from Ancient Greek – Koroni (κορώνη) – and –idion (ίδιον) which means “diminutive” or “little” and captures the “little crown” of the pappus bristles on the cypselae.
elatum – Latin meaning “erect”, “held high”, or generally “tall” – referring to the comparitively tall habit of this species.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Coronidium elatum profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Coronidium~elatum
Gardening with Angus – Coronidium elatum ‘Sunny Side Up’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/coronidium-elatum-sunny-side-up-everlasting-daisy/
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.