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Olearia avicenniifolia - (Raoul.)Hook.f.

Common Name Akeake
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Sub-alpine scrub to 1000 metres in South Island.
Range New Zealand.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Olearia avicenniifolia Akeake

Olearia avicenniifolia Akeake


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Olearia avicenniifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 5 m (16ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


O. albida. Hort. non Hook.f.



Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

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None known


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Other Uses

Hedge  Hedge

Very resistant to maritime exposure and tolerant of severe pruning[11, 49, 166, 200], this plant can be used as an effective windbreak hedge in exposed maritime areas[75]. It is rather slow growing though[75].

Special Uses

Hedge  Hedge  Scented Plants


Cultivation details

Succeeds in any well-drained moderately fertile soil in full sun[182, 200]. Thrives in a chalky soil[182] but prefers a light loam or peaty soil[11]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure[11, 75]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution[200]. This species is not very hardy outside the milder western and south-western maritime areas of Britain[1], tolerating temperatures down to about -10°c[184]. Another report says that it is hardy to about -15°c[200]. Very slow growing in Britain[75], the plants generally only reach 2 - 3 metres tall in cultivation in this country. Plants can be pruned right back into old wood in order to promote fresh growth[200]. Any pruning is best done in the spring[11]. Some named forms have been developed for their ornamental value[182]. Flowers best in years following long hot summers[200]. The flowers are sweetly scented[184].


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Seed - surface sow in early spring in a greenhouse. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. If growth has been sufficiently good, plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer of the following year, otherwise grow them on for another year in pots and plant them out the following early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up in late August and overwinter in a cold frame then plant out in late spring or early summer[78]. Good percentage[11]. Cuttings of moderately ripe wood of the current years growth, 5 - 10cm with a heel, November in a frame. High percentage[78].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Olearia ilicifolia Shrub3.0 7-10  LMNM00 
Olearia macrodonta Shrub6.0 7-10 MLMHNM00 
Olearia paniculata Shrub6.0 8-11  LMHNM00 
Olearia solandri Shrub4.0 8-11 SLMHNM00 
Olearia traversii Shrub10.0 8-11 MLMHNM00 
Olearia virgata Shrub3.5 6-9 FLMHNM00 
Olearia x haastii Shrub2.5 7-10  LMHNM00 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

david nicholls   Sat Dec 22 22:14:39 2001

Olearia albida tests positve for saponins in the leaves and the wood(A New Zealand Phytochemical survey Part 2 By R.Campbell, Cain & Roche NZ Journal of Science Sept 1961).

I shook some leaves in a jar of water, after 12 hrs the amount of bubbles wasn't bad, have not tried using them for anything, washing, killing fish...

The plant tested negative for alkaloids and all other things tested.

I am impressed with my one plant, it is growing pointing into the prevailing while other plants grow sculpted with the ocassionally hurricane force wind as one would expect, (observation based on one plant only) it is rather slow as you say though, and doesnt get very big at it's best.

   Apr 29 2014 12:00AM

We were given a small plant of this as a housewarming present 18 years ago for the garden of our new house in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland. It has grown to approximately 8 feet tall and ten feet wide and is still going strong. Over the years we have taken loads of cuttings and some (five or six) have survived. We are in the process of severely pruning it as it was beginning to block our view out over the sea so will be planting hundreds of cuttings in the hope that many will survive. This is the first time we have taken cuttings in spring so its fingers crossed and if anyone out there can guide us on the best methods of maximising survival rates we would be pleased to hear. All in all a wonderful plant which reminds us of a wonderful holiday we spent in New Zealand a few years ago.

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