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Products > Athanasia dentata
Athanasia dentata - Toothed-leaf Athanasia

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 3-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Athanasia dentata (Toothed-leaf Athanasia) - a fast growing upright densely foliaged subshrub that grows 3 to 4 feet tall with attractive small green recurving leaves are serrated along the margins and arranged tightly on the nearly vertical slender branches. In spring into mid-summer appear the bright golden yellow disk flowers are held in flat heads (compound corymbs) at branch tips. These flowers with 30 to 60 tiny individual florets held in 15 to 20 button-like heads are very showy against the green foliage and are honey scented.

Plant in full sun in well-draining soil and given only occasional to infrequent irrigation - this is a drought tolerant plant that can grow in near seaside conditions and is cold hardy to 20-25 degrees F. A great plant with flowers that are long-lasting on a garden plant or in the vase as a cut flower and it attracts honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

Athanasia dentata occurs from the Cape Peninsula and East Cape in South Africa on dry, sandy coastal slopes. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'a' meaning "without" and 'thanatos' meaning "death" in reference to the persistent dry around the flowers, which remain on the plant long after it has finished flowering. The specific epithet means "toothed" in reference to the serrations on the leaves.

We thank Ryan Deering, the horticulturist at the University of California Davis Arboretum for recommending this plant and providing the stock plants for us to take cutting from in 2022. Ryan noted that this plant had then been growing in their arboretum for over ten years and that it has always looked attractive and not seeded out anywhere. He noted that they also have the related Hymenolepis crithmifolia in the garden and while it extremely showy, for them it gets a bit large and needs to be cut back hard every few years but Athanasia dentata does not require this. 

This information about Athanasia dentata displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.