Common name: Cushion Bush

Family: ASTERACEAE

Flowering Leucophyta brownii (Cushion Bush). Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Leucophyta: (Greek) from leuco – grey-white, and phyta – plant; referring to the plants colour.

brownii: named after the 18th to 19th century botanist Robert Brown.

Description

Leucophyta brownii is a compact coastal shrub, widespread along the south-west coast of WA from Yanchep to the islands east of Esperance. This dome-shaped plant is found on limestone cliffs and primary dunes often in highly exposed areas where it can grow up to 1 m in height and width.

The most distinctive attribute of the Cushion Bush is its silvery-white foliage, which provides a dramatic contrast to surrounding vegetation. It has an intricate network of dense tangled stems with small scale-like leaves covered in soft white hairs.

From late spring to summer, Cushion Bush produces tiny yellow, tubular flowers, grouped in globular heads that have a creamy felted appearance. The heads appear silver when budding and grey-brown when fruiting.

The species is very popular as a landscaping plant especially in coastal gardens, grown primarily for its dramatic colour contrast against other plants, as well as its drought tolerance, reliable growth and compact dome-shaped habit. A wide variety of forms are commercially available including the dwarf variety ‘Silver Nugget’ and the very silvery ‘Canal Rocks’.

Horticultural tips

  • Easily grown from tip cuttings taken anytime of the year from semi-hardened branches, but will also grow from seed with no pre-sowing treatment required.
  • For best results plant in full sun in autumn or winter.
  • Cushion Bush should not be over-watered once established as this will shorten its lifespan.
  • Tip-prune regularly to shape as this plant does not respond well to harsh pruning into woody material.
  • Cushion Bush is extremely tolerant to salt spray, wind and drought once established.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Leucophyta brownii growing around the Rotary Wishing Well on Fraser Avenue. Make a wish and then continue your stroll to see more of these striking shrubs just before entering Aspects of Kings Park for a spot of shopping (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Cushion Bush in Kings Park. Photo: D. Blumer. Clusters of cushion bush in winter garden beds. Photo: D. Blumer. Cushion bush growing alongside Kangaroo paw. Photo: D. Blumer.

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