The curry bush

The curry bush

Like many plants, the curry bush (Cassinia laevis)

has several common names including native rosemary bush and cough bush. Although the leaves of this attractive bush are somewhat like that of the exotic rosemary and they are aromatic when crushed, they are not edible and may in fact induce coughing.

Found naturally in eastern Australia, in dry sclerophyll and mallee communities along stony ridges and in sandy zones, this is a hardy species that will grow in most well-drained soils in full or filtered sun.

The loose, open habit with shiny, thread-like leaves on white stems make the curry bush a good inclusion in tough spots of the garden where little attention is required. It is particularly suited to coastal gardens with poor water-retaining soils. From spring to autumn, the terminal tips of the stems are covered in a profusion of creamy-white, star-shaped flower heads. Not only providing a lovely display, the flowers attract ants and other insects which in turn attract other wild-life such as lizards, making the shrub a valuable wildlife habitat. Additionally, the timber of the main stems is dark with an attractive pattern.

Cassinia laevis, Cough Bush
Cassinia laevis
Photograph by Neil Murphy.

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