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Genus Olearia Family Asteraceae

Description: Shrubs or rarely trees, glabrous or hairy.

Leaves alternate or opposite, scattered or crowded or clustered, lamina simple, margins entire or toothed; sessile or petiolate.

Heads axillary or terminal, sessile or pedunculate, solitary or in corymbose or paniculate conflorescences; heads broad-hemispherical to narrow-ovoid; involucral bracts imbricate in several series, herbaceous with scarious margins; receptacle pitted, the borders of the pits often finely toothed, lacking scales. Ray florets 1-seriate, female, ligulate or slender and filiform (rarely absent). Disc florets numerous or few, bisexual; corolla tubular. Anthers acute, obtuse or caudate basally. Style branches flattened with short, thick appendages above stigmatic lines.

Achenes striate, terete or slightly compressed, glabrous or variously hairy; pappus of numerous, usually unequal bristles.

Photo D. Hardin

Distribution and occurrence: World: 180 species, Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea. Australia: 130 species (endemic), all States.

Text by N. S. Lander
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Olearia rugosa

 Key to the species 
1Growing on Lord Howe Island2
Growing on mainland NSW3
2Leaves linear, 5–12 mm long, 0.5–1.5 mm wideOlearia ballii
Leaves narrowly- to broadly-elliptic to obovate, 40–100 mm long, 1.5–3.5 mm wide
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Olearia mooneyi
3Leaves sessile or subsessile4
Leaves petiolate
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4Leaves with margins flat5
Leaves with margins weakly to strongly revolute
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5Leaves with venation indistinct, apart from midvein6
Leaves with venation distinctly reticulate or pinnate
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6Leaves viscid on upper surface7
Leaves not viscid on upper surface
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7Leaves discolorousOlearia viscidula
Leaves concolorous
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8Leaves cuneate; apex truncate, 3-lobedOlearia sp. Rhizomatica (I.R.Telford 11549)
Leaves linear or oblanceolate; apex acute or rounded
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9Leaves linear; heads solitary or clustered; pappus 1- seriateOlearia passerinoides
Leaves oblanceolate; heads in panicles; pappus 2- seriate
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Olearia decurrens
10Leaves flat; heads solitary12
Leaves conduplicate; heads in compound corymbs or leafy panicles
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11Growing at high altitude in the southern tablelands of NSWOlearia brevipedunculata
Growing in the western districts of NSW
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12Disc florets ± 18; pappus 1-seriate, bristles ± 50Olearia muelleri
Disc florets ± 21; pappus 2-seriate, bristles ± 74
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Olearia calcarea
13Leaves without a mucro; heads in compound corymbs; disc florets yellowOlearia glandulosa
Leaves mucronate; heads in leafy panicles; disc florets pink
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Olearia suffruticosa
14Leaves discolorous; ray florets ± 30; disc florets ± 2015
Leaves concolorous; ray florets ± 39; disc florets ± 86
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Olearia rudis
15Ray florets 8–15; disc florets 7–16; pappus bristles ± 43Olearia canescens
Ray florets 16–30; disc florets 15–20; pappus bristles ± 44
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Olearia phlogopappa
16Leaves with venation distinctly reticulateOlearia rosmarinifolia
Leaves with venation indistinct, apart from midvein
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17Leaves viscid on upper surfaceOlearia iodochroa
Leaves not viscid on upper surface
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18Leaves discolorous19
Leaves concolorous
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19Disc florets blue or mauveOlearia ramosissima
Disc florets cream or yellow
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20Heads axillary21
Heads terminal
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21Leaves grey-woolly or minutely tuberculate on upper surface22
Leaves glabrous or subglabrous on upper surface
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22Leaves grey-woolly, peduncles ± 3 mm longOlearia axillaris
Leaves minutely tuberculate, peduncles ± 14 mm long
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Olearia ramulosa
23Heads pedunculate; lamina linear or obovate24
Heads sessile; lamina elliptic or narrow-obovate
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Olearia algida
24Leaves usually only in the upper 1/2 of the shrub creating a crowded effect, 40–80 mm longOlearia stenophylla
Leaves linear or obovate, 5–20 mm long
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Olearia subspicata
25Leaves scattered, lamina linear or obovate, ± 5 mm long; heads pedunculateOlearia subspicata
Leaves crowded, lamina elliptic or narrow-obovate ± 3 mm long; heads sessile
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Olearia algida
26Leaves tuberculate on upper surface27
Leaves not tuberculate
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27Heads ± 22 mm in diam.; disc florets blue or yellowOlearia ramosissima
Heads ± 20 mm in diam.; disc florets yellow
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28Leaves narrow- to broad-spathulateOlearia microphylla
Leaves linear, narrow-elliptic or narrow-obovate
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Olearia ramulosa
29Leaves stellate-hairyOlearia asterotricha
Leaves not stellate-hairy
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30Heads distinctly pedunculate31
Heads sessile or subsessile
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31Disc florets ± 10Olearia burgessii
Disc florets ± 14
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Olearia pimeleoides
32Achenes not glandularOlearia floribunda
Achenes glandular
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33Leaves clustered, ± 0.8 mm wideOlearia lepidophylla
Leaves scattered, ± 1 mm wide
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Olearia minor
34Leaves narrow-elliptic to narrow-obovate or cuneate, glabrous to subglabrous or tomentose35
Leaves linear, glandular or finely pubescent
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35Leaves glabrous to subglabrous; achenes glabrous or subglabrousOlearia magniflora
Leaves tomentose; achenes silky and glandular
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Olearia incana
36Ray florets ± 18; disc florets ± 3537
Ray florets ± 30; disc florets ± 39
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Olearia flocktoniae
37Disc florets ± 33; pappus with an outer row of short bristlesOlearia tenuifolia
Disc florets ± 33; pappus without an outer row of short bristles
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Olearia cordata
38Leaves alternate39
Leaves opposite
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39Leaves viscid on upper surfaceOlearia elliptica
Leaves not viscid on upper surface
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40Pappus bristles pinkOlearia myrsinoides
Pappus bristles white or straw-coloured
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41Leaves with venation reticulate or indistinct apart from midvein42
Leaves with venation pinnate
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42Heads axillaryOlearia quercifolia
Heads terminal
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43Disc florets purpleOlearia montana
Disc florets cream or yellow
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44Heads ± 40 mm in diamOlearia stilwelliae
Heads ± 32 mm in diam
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45Heads solitary or clustered46
Heads in panicles or corymbs
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46Ray florets ± 15; pappus 2-seriateOlearia lasiophylla
Ray florets ± 16; pappus multiseriate
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Olearia phlogopappa
47Heads in corymbs48
Heads in panicles
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48Heads sessileOlearia oliganthema
Heads pedunculate
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49Ray achenes minutely strigose; disc achenes densely glandular; pappus bristles 30–36Olearia heterocarpa
Ray and disc achenes glabrous; pappus bristles 26–80
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50Leaves minutely silver-tomentose on lower surface; pappus bristles ± 44Olearia argophylla
Leaves beige-tomentose on lower surface; pappus bristles ± 50
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Olearia megalophylla
51Disc florets cream to yellow; achenes silky; pappus with an outer row of short bristlesOlearia lirata
Disc florets yellow; achenes glabrous; pappus without an outer row of short bristles
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Olearia erubescens
52Leaves grey-pubescent on upper surfaceOlearia gravis
Leaves glabrous or subglabrous on upper surface
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53Leaves silver-felted on lower surface; pappus without an outer row of short bristlesOlearia cydoniifolia
Leaves brown-, beige- or grey-felted on lower surface; pappus with an outer row of short bristles
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54Leaves lanceolate, margins mostly entire but sometimes sinuate and serrate, peduncles <15 mm longOlearia lirata
Leaves other than lanceolate, margins various, peduncles much greater than 15 mm long
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55Leaves ovate, margins prickly or toothed, apex acute; peduncle ± 35 mm longOlearia nernstii
Leaves elliptic, margins toothed or sinuately lobed, apex obtuse or rounded; peduncle ± 70 mm long
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Olearia tomentosa
56Heads in paniclesOlearia chrysophylla
Heads in simple or compound corymbs
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57Ray florets ± 4; disc florets ± 458
Ray florets ± 6; disc florets ± 6
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58Pappus bristles pinkOlearia aglossa
Pappus bristles white or straw-coloured
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Olearia covenyi
59Leaves beige-tomentose on lower surface, margins flat, petiole ± 30 mm longOlearia megalophylla
Leaves grey-tomentose on lower surface, margins revolute, petiole ± 12 mm long
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60Leaves with margins entire; peduncles ± 25 mm longOlearia alpicola
Leaves with margins toothed; peduncles ± 50 mm long
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Olearia oppositifolia

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