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Cassinia quinquefaria, Cough-bush, Dead-finish, Rosemary shrub

Cassinia quinquefaria is a member of Asteraceae (Daisy) family and grows into a shrub that reaches a height of two metres with a similar spread. Cough-bush, Dead-finish and Rosemary shrub are some common names.

The aromatic leaves are up to four centimetres long, linear and grey-green in colour. Cough-bush and Rosemary Shrub refer to the foliage aroma. Dead-finish refers to the ability, of this species, to survive in the most trying conditions and situations.

In summer plants become covered in straw-coloured flower heads. Blooms have a pleasant if somewhat elusive perfume.

Unpruned plants tend to become rather straggly and usually have a life span of two to three years. In the wild this is not a problem because there is a constant recruitment of seedlings

We have not planted any specimens in our cold climate garden but plenty of seedlings appear in our gardens as well as the regenerating surrounding areas. The seedlings in the wrong place are removed whilst the others are accepted.

Cassinia quinquefaria is a very useful species. In our gardens they shelter and protect more sensitive plants. Their dense, interlocking branches provide safe nesting sites for small native birds. Also pieces, of Cough-bush, are placed over new plants. We find the pieces protect the plants from the ravages of kangaroos, wallabies and rabbits.

Cassinia quinquefaria has regenerated in large numbers at Yallaroo, since stock were removed, and is the most common shrub on our property. Bursaria spinosa (Blackthorn) has also regenerated successfully. Blackthorn has white flowers and blooms at the same time as the Cassinia. In summer, Yallaroo is a sea of cream and white flowers.

Cassinia quinquefaria is widespread in New South Wales and also occurs in Queensland and Victoria.

The species propagates readily from cuttings.

Warren and Gloria Sheather

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