Santolina pinnata Viv.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Santolina pinnata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-08-03.



  • S. chamaecyparissus subsp. tomentosa (Pers.) Arcangeli


Odd-pinnate; (of a compound leaf) with a central rachis and an uneven number of leaflets due to the presence of a terminal leaflet. (Cf. paripinnate.)
(subsp.) Taxonomic rank for a group of organisms showing the principal characters of a species but with significant definable morphological differentiation. A subspecies occurs in populations that can occupy a distinct geographical range or habitat.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Santolina pinnata' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-08-03.

This species is mainly represented in cultivation by the following subspecies, at present generally known in gardens as S. neapolitana:

subsp. neapolitana (Jord. & Fourr.) Guinea S. neapolitana Jord. & Fourr. in Ic. Fl. Europ. 2: 10, tab. 228 (1869); S. italica Hort.; S. rosmarinifolia Hort., not L. – An evergreen, rather pleasantly scented shrub 2 to 212 ft high, producing a closely packed crowd of erect, slender branches covered with white felt. Leaves 1 to 2 in. long, 18 to 14 in. wide, either pinnate or with leaflets superposed in four rows, the leaflets (or perhaps better termed ‘leaf-segments’) are 112 to 14 in. long, cylindrical, round-ended, 136 in. in diameter, covered with white down on the young non-flowering shoots, green and less downy on the flowering ones. Flowers bright yellow, borne in a compact, circular, cushion-shaped head, 34 in. wide, in July, each head on a slender erect stalk 3 to 6 in. long, from six to twelve heads being produced at or near the end of each shoot.

Native of S. Italy. This attractive shrub, often grown wrongly as “S. rosmarinifolia”, differs from S. chamaecyparissus by the longer leaves and by the longer, more slender segments of the leaf. It makes a bright display when in flower. It should be grown in full sunshine and is better in rather poor soil than in rich, the foliage being whiter and the growths sturdier and less liable to fall apart, thus leaving the centre of the plant open and unsightly. Pruned plants produce shoots which are at first quite green.

'Edward Bowles'

leaves greenish grey; flowers creamy white.


Leaves greyish green; flowers pale primrose-yellow.subsp. etrusca (Lacaita) Guinea S. chamaecyparissus var. etrusca Lacaita in Nuov. Giorn. Bot. Ital. 32: 215 (1925) – Leaves green, glabrous; flowers pale yellow to yellowish white. Native of Italy and Sicily, distinguished from the subsp. neapolitana by its shorter, denser habit, green leaves and creamy yellow flowers. Both the leaves and leaf-segments are shorter than in the typical subspecies (see below).subsp. pinnata – This, the typical subspecies of S. pinnata, has green, glabrous leaves 1 to 1{1/2} in. long; leaf-segments {1/8} to {3/16} in. long, arranged in two or four rows. Flowers dull white. Native of Italy, flowering in July, distinguished by its white flowers and its green foliage with only a slight odour. Of little ornamental value.


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