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Moth daisy-bush
Olearia erubescens.jpg
Olearia erubescens
in Kinglake National Park, Victoria
Scientific classification

Olearia erubescens, commonly known as moth daisy-bush or pink-tip daisy-bush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is a shrub with stiff, prickly leaves and white "daisy" flowers, growing up to 2 metres high.


Olearia erubescens is a spreading woody shrub to 0.5–2 m (1.6–6.6 ft) high and 0.5–1 m (1.6–3.3 ft) wide when growing at lower altitudes in grassland and wooded gullies. It has a gnarled smaller growth habit at higher altitudes to 40 cm (16 in) high. The branchlets are densely matted with soft whitish T-shaped hairs. The smooth upper leaf surface is dark green, flat and stiff with a distinctive pale network of veins. The leaves are on a short stalk 11 mm (0.43 in) long, arranged alternately, may be either sparse or crowded and end in a sharp point. The leaves are narrowly oval to oblong about 15–125 mm (0.59–4.9 in) long and 3–20 mm (0.12–0.79 in) wide with small, coarse, irregular teeth or slightly lobed serrations along the margin. The leaf underside is thickly covered with white hairs, occasionally reddish when young. The inflorescence consists of 4-8 white flowers, occasionally a pinkish mauve, about 15–31 mm (0.59–1.2 in) in diameter blooming at the end of branches on a peduncle about 1–4 cm (0.39–1.6 in) long. The flower clusters are borne in leaf axils on previous season shoots. The floret centre is yellow. The cone-shaped bracts are arranged in rows of 3-5 and 4.5–7 mm (0.18–0.28 in) long and covered in dense silky flat hairs. The dry fruit is one seeded, narrowly cylindrical 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long and ribbed. Flowering occurs from September to January.

Taxonomy and naming

Olearia erubescens was first formally described by Franz Sieber as Aster erubescens but he did not publish the description. In 1826 Curt Sprengel published the description in his book Systema Vegetabilium. Leopold Dippel in 1889 described Olearia erubescens and published the description in Handbuch der Laubholzkunde.

Augustin de Candolle published the description Eurybia erubescens in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1836 but makes no reference to Sprengels prior description of 1826. The specific epithet (erubescens) is derived from the Latin meaning "grow red", "redden" or "blush" possibly referring to the new growth that is occasionally a reddish colour.

Distribution and habitat

Moth daisy bush is a widespread species on the coast and ranges from the Blue Mountains, west to Orange and Drake in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Also found in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Grows in rocky situations, sclerophyll forests, woodland and montane forests.

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