Xerochrysum bracteatum: is a member of the Asteraceae (Daisy) family and is known as the Golden Everlasting. This attractive daisy has undergone numerous name changes and has been known as Helichrysum bracteatum and Bracteantha bracteata to name just two.
The Golden Everlasting is a variable species and may be an annual, biennial or perennial herb or shrub.
The leaves vary in size from 1.5 to 12 centimetres in length by 0.5 to 2 centimetres wide. They may be linear or broadly elliptical and grey or grey-green.
Flower heads are from 2 to 8 centimetres across and usually golden yellow in the annual form. Biennial and perennial forms may have white, cream, pink or yellow flowers. Many forms carry flowers for most of the year. Annuals flower prolifically all through spring and summer. Plants spread their seeds far and wide so plants appear throughout the garden.
A number of flower colours have been bred from the annual golden yellow form. Seedlings, from these cultivars, maintain the colour varieties but slip back to the original yellow after a couple of years. Many invertebrates are attracted to the flower heads. We have observed ants, grasshoppers and native bees. Also small spiders sit in the flower heads waiting for a meal to arrive. The flower head illustrated is from an annual form in our garden.
There are a number of named perennial cultivars including “Cockatoo”, “White Monarch” and “Yellow Monarch”.
“Dargan Hill Monarch” is another cultivar but some botanists feel that this bright yellow perennial is a species in its own right.
Xerochrysum bracteatum is a widespread species and is found in all states. Napoleon took seeds, of an annual form, to St Helena where he was exiled (see Napoleon’s Daisy). The Golden Everlasting has become naturalised on the Island.
Propagate annual forms from seed. The biennial and perennial forms propagate readily from cuttings.