Plant Name

Bracteantha bracteata

Syn. Helichrysum bracheatum

Common Name

Strawflower, Everlasting Daisy, Golden Everlasting.



Sun Aspect

Full Sun

Soil Moisture


Plant Type


Height x Spread in feet (cms) (1" = 2.5cms, 12 inches = 1 foot = 30 cms)

4 x 1 (120 x 30)



Flower Colour in Month(s). Fruit

Bright White, yellow, pink or red in June-October


Erect form. Use to fill gaps in a mixed or herbaceous border and for dried floral arrangements.

"The Golden Everlasting

John Knight

Editors' Note: Taxonomic revision of the Australian Daisies over the past few years has resulted in many name changes. At the time that this article was written, the Golden Everlasting was known as Helichrysum bracteatum, however, the plant has now been transferred to a new genus and is known as Bracteantha bracteata. As the new name has been generally accepted, it has been used in the article.

Bracteantha bracteata is a most variable and widespread plant, found on the margins of dry rainforest in north Queensland, through to coastal areas of Western Australia, and seemingly every imaginable habitat in between except wet or heavily shaded areas. They generally flower from spring to autumn, although those varieties which occur in arid inland areas flower in the cooler months.

Plants may be either annual, or woody perennials. The specific name "bracteata" refers to the prominent and numerous, dry, papery bracts, which are often incorrectly referred to as petals.

In the early 19th century, noted East German horticulturist Herren Ebritsch, at Arnstadt, developed many unusual colour forms by intensive breeding of the annual varieties, and these were widely distributed in European gardens in the 1850s. These varieties known as Strawflowers, have globular heads, the bracts of which are coloured maroon through to bronze. The bracts remain cupped around the flowers rather than opening out flat to the perfect flower head of Golden Everlasting. Seed of the Strawflowers is still commonly available. Variability of wild populations of Bracteantha bracteata is seen in vigour, foliage and flower.

The National Botanic Gardens in Canberra , Australia with its Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) with more than 60,000 plant names can provide more information.

The annual varieties may grow from 30 cm to 1.5 m high, usually well branched but more or less erect. Foliage may be 20 mm long, but only 1 mm wide, or up to 100 mm long and 25 mm wide, whilst the flowers vary from 20 mm to 50 mm across.

Plants are easy to establish from seed sown following autumn rains and flowering can be expected to commence about October/November in Melbourne conditions. For best results, choose a situation with full sun, and well worked soil into which some complete fertiliser has been incorporated. Place plants at 30 cm centres, and keep well watered during establishment period. Light feeding each month with a liquid fertiliser will produce healthy and bushy plants which reward the grower with heavy flowering for six months or more, depending on the severity of the season.

Plants may also grow well in dappled shade, but, depending on available light, may grow taller and produce smaller or fewer flowers. To overcome this, prune lightly but regularly to promote bushiness, and use a low nitrogen fertiliser when preparing the ground.

Picking flowers for decoration or drying will encourage further flower production, but be sure to leave some flowers to produce seed for next year. Seed may be collected and stored for sowing in autumn, or be allowed to disperse naturally, where it will pop up in the most delightful places. It is unlikely to germinate in areas where the soil is heavily compacted or heavily mulched with organic material. However, it germinates well in gravelled areas.

Seed is ready to collect when the bracts have reflexed slightly and the centre of the flower becomes downy, like a dandelion. It should come away from the flowerhead with no effort. When storing, be sure the seed is dry and free from insects. Store in paper bags or envelopes in a dry area. Seed is likely to be available from various distributors of Australian plant seed and various groups of the Society for Growing Australian Plants.

The classic shape of the normal form of Bracteantha bracteata. The common name of "Paper Daisy" is derived from the papery bracts around the central cluster of small flowers.

Plants are readily propagated from cuttings of firm young wood taken during spring to autumn. Wood produced during a flush of growth is most successful.

Most people are happy to grow the various perennial varieties, which are readily available from nurseries throughout Australia. Again, plants are extremely varied in their habit and habitat. There are tightly matted ground covers to robust rounded shrubs which may grow over 1 m high and, in some instances, up to 2 m wide.

The leaves are bright green to grey-green, somewhat hairy and velvety to touch. Size varies from 30 mm to 125 mm long, and 5 mm to 30 mm wide. Depending on the season, foliage may be sparse to dense, and it has been noted, in cultivation, that extra watering during summer will resurrect a limp, tired plant in a short time.

Given good conditions, that is plenty of sun, and an open friable soil that is not allowed to dry out in summer, the perennial forms of Bracteantha bracteata are most attractive, free flowering shrubs, which may flower continually throughout the year. Regular light pruning is recommended to maintain bushiness, and cutting flowers for decoration is the ideal way to prune. Plants, including the forms described below, benefit from a regular light feeding during active growth.

Fresh flowers last a long time in water. If one wishes to dry the flowers, it is important to pick them when the first bracts have commenced to open, remove any foliage, and hang the flowers upside down in a dry, airy situation. Treated thus, the bracts will continue to open till all are arranged in perfect symmetry, displaying their true beauty for years.

The perennial forms of Bracteantha bracteata have been popular in cultivation for many years, but it seems those grown originally which included plants with orange, yellow, lemon and white flowers, have given way to the many named cultivars now propagated.

Bracteantha bracteata "Dargan Hill Monarch" was the first of these. It is a robust and large flowered selection from Cunningham's Gap, in the McPherson Ranges on the SE Queensland/north New South Wales border. Growing as a dense, rounded shrub to 0.8 m x 1-1.5 m, it has woolly grey foliage 70-120 mm x 20-30 mm. Very large, well displayed flowers, about 90 mm across, are held high above the foliage. Row upon row of shiny, bright yellow bracts surround up to 80 tiny orange florets. Plants may flower all the year if spent flowerheads are removed, but in cooler climates is generally restricted to the warmer months, October to April.

This cultivar is most hardy in cultivation, adapting to any well drained soil, in full sun or dappled shade. Plants respond to light feeding during vigorous growing periods, and pruning is beneficial. Heavy pruning should be avoided if possible, however, experience with plants in cultivation shows that plants will grow away well from hard pruning provided it is carried out early in the growing season, before the weather gets too hot.

Bracteantha bracteata "Diamond Head" is another well established cultivar. It was registered in 1977 by John Wrigley, then curator of the National Botanic Gardens, Canberra. This compact, prostrate plant is common on the coastal cliffs and bluffs around Diamond Head on the north New South Wales Coast. This selection is quite different from all other perennial cultivars, growing as a dense mat, about 0.1-0.2 m high and 0.5 m across. The long leaves are soft and fleshy, but covered with short bristly hairs, giving a slightly rough texture. Flower heads, with bright yellow bracts and orange florets, are about 30 mm across and held high above the foliage on stalks up to 100 mm long. Flowers during the warmer months, October to April.

Plants may become less thrifty and untidy if not pruned correctly. Strong, new growth commences about mid-winter, and at this time most of the old foliage should be cut away to allow the new growth to come through. As is common with many coastal plants, Bracteantha bracteata "Diamond Head" will not tolerate poor drainage, and performs best in full sun. It makes an excellent rockery plant. In areas where heavy frosts are experienced, cutting away the old growth should be delayed to afford protection to the new growth.

Bracteantha bracteata "Princess of Wales" is a more recent introduction by the National Botanic Gardens. Named in honour of Her Royal Highness on the occasion of her visit to the garden in November 1985, this cultivar is a spontaneous hybrid between Bracteantha bracteata "Dargan Hill Monarch" and a coloured annual cultivar. Selected as having special merit, it is a bushy free flowering plant growing about 0.6 m x 0.6 m, with bright green foliage.

Rich golden yellow flowers are about 60 mm across, and borne in profusion from September to April. Whilst of a more compact habit than the other cultivars, Bracteantha bracteata "Princess of Wales" still benefits from light pruning during the growing season to encourage still more flowers. An ideal size for a small rockery, it would also make an excellent border plant, adapting to most aspects and soils. Again, full sun for heavy flowering.

Bracteantha bracteata "Cockatoo" is similar to Bracteantha bracteata "Dargan Hill Monarch" in size and foliage, but the flower heads, to about 70 mm across have light lemon bracts surrounding up to 200 orange florets. Bracteantha bracteata "Dargan Hill Monarch" is one parent, the other being a white flowered perennial plant. A well drained sunny spot will ensure a compact habit, with the plant growing to about 1 m x 1 m. Flowers may be produced throughout the year with light pruning.

Other cultivars include: Bracteantha bracteata "Lemon Monarch"; Bracteantha bracteata "White Monarch"; Bracteantha bracteata "Golden Bowerbird"; Bracteantha bracteata "Barleythorpe"; Bracteantha bracteata "Hastings Gold"; As I have not tried these, I cannot comment on their suitability for garden cultivation. However, any Bracteantha bracteata cultivar is likely to be successful if treated as for those described.

This article is reproduced from the September 1990 issue of the "Australian Plants", journal, published by the Society.

John Knight is currently the superintendent of the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens at Batemans Bay on the New South Wales south coast. He has been growing and propagating Australian plants since the early 1970s and was formerly the manager of Austraflora Nursery in Melbourne and curator of the Karwarra Australian Plants Garden also in Melbourne." from Australian Plants Online.

"Floral arrangements

Daisies can be divided into two distinct groups-

• soft petal flowers.

• stiff paper like petal flowers.

Most of the paper-like or everlasting flowers can be dried and used in floral arrangements.

Pick the flowers just before the buds burst open, and depending upon the stem thickness they can be either-

• bunched and hung upside down in a cool, dry, airy room away from direct sunlight.

• or, the stem can be cut 1cm. below the flower head and thin florist wire inserted up the stem into the base of the flower. Leave to dry upright in a cool dry airy room away from direct sunlight.

Reject any flowers that have been damaged." from Australian Plants Society.

Further cultivation details from Floridata. Bracteantha 'Flame' available from West Country Lupins.


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"Simona and Feruccio" by Madeleine F. Williamson Pires.

Can Simona and Feruccio with Ron and Christine Foord assist you in your choice of plants?

Plant Type in the following table is:-

  • A for Aquatic
  • An for Annual
  • Ba for Bamboo
  • Bu for Bulb
  • Cl for Climber
  • Co for Conifer
  • F for Fern
  • G for Grass
  • H for Herb
  • P for Perrenial
  • Rh for Rhododendron, Azalea, Camellia
  • Ro for Rose
  • Sh for Shrub
  • So for Soft Fruit
  • Su for Succulent
  • To for Top Fruit
  • Tr for Tree
  • V for Vegetable
  • W for Wildflower

followed by:-

  • E for Evergreen or
  • D for Deciduous or
  • H for Herbaceous



Odds and Sods Name.

Flower Colour

Flowering Months

Height x Spread in feet (cms)

Foliage Colour

Plant Type


Aster alpinus

Violet with Yellow (may be pink, violet/lavender, dark purple/black, or white/near white) florets

June, July

0.8 x 1.5
(25 x 45)





April, May

0.15 x 2
(5 x 60)

Mid Green



Bracteantha bracteata

Bright White, yellow, pink or red

June, July, August, September, October

4 x 1
(120 x 30)


An H


Chrysan-themum 'Pennine Digger' and others

Golden Yellow


4 x 2.5
(120 x 75)

Dark Green


Cornus canadensis


May, June

0.4 x 1
(12 x 30)




Daphne cneorum

Pale to Deep Rose-Pink


0.5 x 6
(15 x 180)

Dark Green above, Grey-Green below

Sh E


Euphorbia myrsinites


April, May, June

0.3 x 1
(10 x 30)




Fragaria moschata Duchesne



0.5 x 0.5
(15 x 15)

Bright Green



Gentiana verna

White-throated Sky-Blue

April, May, June, July

0.1 x 0.3
(3 x 10)

Dark Green



Helianthus annuus

Yellow ray-florets with Brown disc florets

August, September

15 x 2
(450 x 60)

Mid to Dark Green



Iberis umbellata

White, lavender, purple, pink, or crimson

May, June

0.7 x 0.8
(21 x 25)

Mid Green


Impatiens glandulifera

Scented Purple, Rose-Pink or White

July, August, September

4.5 x 3
(135 x 90)

Light Green

















Lunaria annua

White to light Purple

May, June, July

3 x 1
(90 x 30)

Light to Mid Green


Lupinus luteus 'Yellow Javelin'

Bright Golden Yellow

July, August

2 x 1
(60 x 30)

Mid Green



Morus nigra

Pale Green

May, June

40 x 50
(1200 x 1500)

Mid Green

To D


Nicotiana alata


July, August, September

5 x 1
(150 x 30)

Dark Green


Nicotiana x sanderae

Red, White, Rose-Pink or Purple

July, August, September

1.5 x 1
(45 x 30)

Dark Green


Nicotiana x sanderae Domino Series

Domino Series cultivars have upward-facing flowers in Red, White, Crimson-Pink, Lime-green, Pink with White-eyes, Purple, Purple with White eyes, Salmon-Pink, or White with Rose-Pink margins

July, August, September

1.5 x 1
(45 x 30)

Dark Green


Nicotiana x sanderae Starship Series

Starship Series cultivars have good all-weather tolerance with flowers in Red, White, Rose-Pink, Lime-green or Pink

July, August, September

1.5 x 1
(45 x 30)

Dark Green































Selliera radicans



0.5 x 1
(15 x 30)

Inch long, dark Green, club-shaped leaves with silvery undersides

Su E









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