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Products > Eremophila nivea
 
Eremophila nivea - Silky Eremophila
   
Image of Eremophila nivea
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Myoporaceae (Now Scrophulariaceae)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Synonyms: [E. aff. margarethae]
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Eremophila nivea (Silky Eremophila) - An erect shrub that grows 3–5 feet tall with nearly all plant parts covered by a soft white matted hair which give the plant a silvery-white appearance. The alternately arranged leaves are very narrow and 1/2 inch long. In later winter into spring appear the nearly 1 inch long lilac-purple tubular flowers on short peduncles that stand out against the white foliage - a scattering of bloom may also occur later in summer or after a good deep watering. Plant in full sun in most any soil so long as it drains well (one of the few Australian plants that seems to prefer clay soil) where it is both very drought tolerant and able to handle most frosts we get in coastal California - good down at least to around 25°F. It is recommended that plants be tipped pruned regularly and after flowering to shape and tidy up as well as to remove older foliage that can be prone to the fungal disease gray mold (Botrytis spp.) and plants much older than about 5 years old may need to be renewed or replaced. In its natural habitat, this rare shrub is only known growing in sandy clay and clay-loam soils from near Three Springs in the Avon Wheatbelt north of Perth in Western Australia, where the few small populations are threatened by property development. That Eremophila are often found on heavier alkaline soils makes them more adaptable to cultivation in California than many other Western Australian plants that require better draining or acidic soils. It was only formally described in 1986 and prior to this time was called Eremophila aff. margarethae, as it was affiliated to the more common, but not so white foliaged, Sandbank Poverty Bush, Eremophila margarethae. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'erêmos' meaning "lonely" or "desert" and 'phílos' meaning "dear" "beloved" in reference to the plants in the genus growing in arid climate locations and the specific epithet is a Latin word meaning "snowy" or "snow-white" in reference to the color of the hairs on the branches and leaves of this species. This species was first brought into cultivation in California in 1991 when curator Kathy Musial arranged for plants to be shipped from Lullfitz Nursery in Wanneroo, Western Australia to the Huntington Botanic Gardens and later included it as a 2005 Pacific Plant Introduction announced in that winter's issue of Pacific Horticulture . Our thanks go out to Jo O'Connell at Australian Native Plant Nursery for our original cuttings of this beautiful plants.  The information presented on this page is based on research we have conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also consider observations of it growing in our nursery crops, as well as in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we visit. We will incorporate comments that we receive from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they include cultural information that would aid others in growing Eremophila nivea.