A white bush, 1 to 2 ft high in this country, forming a close, leafy mass; foliage persistent; stems semi-woody, covered the first season with a thick white felt. Leaves alternate, very crowded on the shoots, the largest 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, with clusters of shorter ones in their axils, all very narrow (1⁄8 in. or less wide), and furnished with thick teeth or projections set in rows of about four. The whole leaf is clothed with a white felt. Flower-heads bright yellow, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. across, hemispherical, solitary at the end of an erect, slender stalk 4 to 6 in. long, terminating short lateral twigs of the year. There are no ray-florets.
Native of the Western and Central Mediterranean region; cultivated in Britain since the middle of the 16th century. It is a beautiful and interesting plant, probably the whitest of all hardy shrubs, and bears its showy flower-heads in July so thickly that they almost touch. The plant has a rather agreeable odour when lightly rubbed, but this becomes too strong and acrid to be wholly pleasant when the leaves are crushed. Formerly used in medicine as a vermifuge. The leaf has a curious structure suggestive of the stems of some lycopods; it consists of a central axis on which are set, often in whorls, short, thick, blunt projections.
S. chamaecyparissus var. corsica Hort., not Fiori