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Products > Senecio palmeri 'Silver and Gold'
 
Senecio palmeri 'Silver and Gold' - Guadalupe Island Senecio
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: Guadalupe Islands (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): No Irrigation required
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Senecio palmeri 'Silver and Gold' (Guadalupe Island Senecio) - A low sub-shrub that grows 2 to 3 feet tall with bright white felty stems and oblong-lanceolate slightly toothed leaves. From mid spring to early summer appear the attractive 1 inch wide yellow daisy flowers are on short inflorescences held above the foliage. The flowers have short, broad ray flowers surrounding the yellow disk flowers. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate very little if at all once established. Though there is little information about this plant in cultivation, but anecdotal reports suggest it can tolerate frost to 19 F. Some reports have also suggest that it can be somewhat fussy in cultivation, particularly if one attempts to cultivate it in soils that do not drain adequately. In our containers it has not been problematic but we are growing it in the same good draining soil we use for succulent plants. This plant is a rare endemic on Guadalupe Island, a volcanic island located 150 miles off the west coast of Baja California Peninsula where grows on rocky, well-drained volcanic slopes on the northern half of the island. The plant is name for Dr. Edward Palmer, self-taught British botanist and early American archaeologist and plant collector for the Smithsonian was the first botanist to visit Guadalupe Island, spending 3 months there in 1875 and describing 21 plants considered new to science. Palmer discovered Senecio palmeri and it was then described by the famed Harvard University's botany professor Asa Gray as "White Sage" and noted at that time as being very abundant on many warm slopes, from the middle to north end of the island. Gray described the plant as "about 3 feet high of diffuse habit, a very free and showy bloomer; beginning to flower early in February and maturing in May, when the air is filled with its downy seeds." The American botanist Edward Lee Greene visited the island in 1885 and added 15 additional new plants to the flora. When Palmer returned to Guadalupe Island in 1889 he made the following comment with reference to this plant: "Since my previous visit to this island this plant has decreased; spots that contained a thicket of it have now but dead plants, with a few scattering plants alive." Professor Greene speaks of this plant as being quite common. The rapid extermination of this species seems to be a parallel to that of Cupressus guadalupensis, spoken of by Mr. Greene (Proccedings of the California Academy I, 217) Fortunately Dr. Palmer has laid in a supply of this species and all American herbaria will have good specimens even if it should become extinct." Santa Barbara's own famous Italian botanist Francesco Franceschi visited the island in 1894 and noted the devastation on this island caused by goats and counted 3 dozen plants of Senecio palmeri located on a basaltic cliff. These goats, thought to be originally deposited on the island by early 19th century whalers and sealers, eventually eliminated most vegetation which eventually caused the number of goats to decline and most recently these goats have been removed to allow the island to try to somewhat recover. Our plants from the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG 08-103).  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Senecio palmeri 'Silver and Gold'.
 
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