These plants may be small in size but are prize winning when it comes to their flowers – Paper Daisies. This “Feature Plants” focuses on two spectacular local Paper Daisies – the White Paper Daisy Coronidium elatum & the Yellow Paper Daisy Xerochrysum bracteatum.
Both these species are members of the Asteraceae (Daisy) Family, which also includes many less than popular exotics such as Cobbler Pegs, Cats Tongue, Fleabane, Purple Top etc… What they do have in common with these weeds, is that they are pioneers of bare ground. Many Daisies are the first plants to colonise cleared ground – that’s why we are so familiar with them as weeds, because one thing us humans seem to like doing is clearing! Being from tough Australian stock, paper daises often thrive and survive in hardest of soils, such as road sides and landslips. The windblown seed can spread far and wide, colonising bare ground and even the ash bed of freshly burnt country.
The Yellow Paper Daisy Xerochrysum bracteatum is an annual to 1 metre (often shorter) that you may see on roadsides on the west side of the range. The White Paper Daisy Coronidium elatum is a taller biennial (often lasting several years) found in a few patches of high country Eucalypt forest such as Bellthorpe and Curramore. This is species had been previously recorded as only extending north to the Border Ranges, until Spencer sent samples in from Curramore around ten years ago.
Paper Daisies are also great in cultivation; the trick is not to spoil them. Well drained soils and a light mulch and don’t worry too much about fertiliser and you’ll have masses of Paper Daisy flowers in no time at all.