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A laxly branched, evergreen shrub, 2 to 4 ft high, of bushy habit; young stems covered with grey down when young. Leaves alternate, 1 to 3 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. wide, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, mostly blunt at the apex, tapering at the base, obscurely crenate or entire, covered above when young with a grey, cobweb-like down, afterwards nearly glabrous, under-surface clothed with close white felt; stalk slender, 3⁄8 to 1 in. long. Flower-heads 1 in. across, produced in summer in loose, terminal, broadly pyramidal panicles, 5 to 8 in. long, 3 to 5 in. wide. Ray-florets twelve to fifteen, golden yellow, fully spread; disk-florets very small and numerous, forming collectively a reddish brown centre 1⁄4 in. across. Bot. Mag., t. 7378.
Native of the mountains of the Nelson and Canterbury provinces of New Zealand, at 2,500 to 5,000 ft. It needs somewhat milder climatic conditions than those of east and middle England, and although several times tried in the open at Kew, it has never survived more than two or three winters except in specially sheltered nooks. In the slightly milder parts of the country it succeeds admirably.
S. laxifolius has been much confused with S. greyi and especially with S. Dunedin Hybrids, which latter have long been erroneously referred to as S. laxifolius in British gardens. The true S. laxifolius appears to be very rare in cultivation in the British Isles.