Plant of the Day – Heterothalmus alienus

The fine foliage looks more like a conifer than a member of the daisy family.
The fine foliage looks more like a conifer than a member of the daisy family.

The fine foliage looks more like a conifer than a member of the daisy family.

We always enjoy when a totally new genus to us comes along and looks like it has the potential to grow for us.  We received this lovely little South American plant from our friends at the Paul J. Ciener Botanic Garden in Kernersville, North Carolina.  Heterothalamus alienus is a daisy relative that makes a woody-based sub-shrub with fine, needle-like foliage more reminiscent of a conifer than a flowering plant.  The foliage is highly aromatic and is topped by golden flowers.  Essential oils from this species have been found in some studies to protect honeybees from a mite that infects their hives.  We’re not sure how hardy this mountain plant is but we think it should survive in central North Carolina in a sunny, well-drained spot like our Xeric Garden where it has grown happily since 2011.

Follow me at @jcramark because life is too short for boring plants.

Heterothalamus makes a very attractive, aromatic shrubby plant.

Heterothalamus makes a very attractive, aromatic shrubby plant.

The gold button flowers of Heterothalamus alienus.  ©2007 Zoya Akulova

The gold button flowers of Heterothalamus alienus. ©2007 Zoya Akulova

Check out all the happenings at http://www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum

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