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Metalasia muricata

   (Family: Asteraceae)
Afrikaans: blombos, witsteekbossie, steekbos English: white bristle bush  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 2 - 4m
Spread: 1m
Special properties:
  Drought Resistant (heavy)
  Frost Tolerant (heavy)
  Has Medicinal Uses
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Winter
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Tolerated soil:  
pH: acid
Flowering time EDIT
        x x x x x      
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
  Flower scent EDIT
  Flower info
  Flowers range from whiteish, cream, very pale tones. They are bisexual.
Leaf shape EDIT
  Leaf info EDIT
  The leaves of Metalasia muricata are some 6 mm long, in tufts or fascicled, closely packed about the stem, acicular or needle-like, sharp-tipped, greenish-grey and may be either glabrous or woolly.
Fruit type EDIT
Sow seeds in Autumn
  Seed info EDIT
  Produce fruits or cypselae which in this genus are ribbed nutlets with bristly pappi.
Description EDIT
A hardy virgate or twiggy shrub with usually 2-4 m tall, much-branched, superb woolly grey foliage. woody with a rounded crown.

In the winter has abundant compact, honey-scented white flower heads.

Metalasia muricata 'Silver Sands' - A tough coastal form of M. muricata, leaves broader, shiny blue/grey with silver undersides.
Growing EDIT
It grows well in sandy soil and loves to be in a position of full sun.

Metalasia can be grown from seed; however, seed from the Western Cape responds better to smoke treatment. It's a low maintenance and water-wise shrub that can do with an occasional pruning.
Distribution EDIT
Habitat: coastal dunes, stony slopes, among ericas.

Coastal and mountain fynbos regions of Southern Africa.
Widespread in the Western Cape.
Metalasia is also found in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape and Lesotho.
History EDIT
The name of the genus Metalasia is derived from 'meta' which can have many meanings, but in this case is intended as 'reverse', and 'lasios' meaning 'woolly', an allusion to the woolly reverse sides of the leaves; 'muricata' means warty with short, sharp points like the shell of the Murex.
Great for a water wise fynbos garden.
In a garden setting, it can be used as a filler to provide flowering and greyish interest throughout the year.

In Lesotho the dried leaves are used as tea.

In coastal regions, it is planted on dunes to stop erosion.
Ecology EDIT
Very hardy and has adapted itself to harsh coastal conditions.

Will attarct birds to your garden.

This is one of the first plant species to reappear after a fire, and offers shelter to less resilient plants when they emerge after being burnt.

It is occasionally used with Marram grass and Chrysanthemoides monilifera to stabilise coastal dunes.[2]
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