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New Zealand Holly

Olearia macrodonta

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Treasureflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White African Daisy, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Evergreen shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
5 metres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, scrub, sea cliffs, seaside, wasteland.

White, many petals
Daisy-like flowers with numerous short white rays. A few reddish disc florets are present. The flowers appear inside large, flattish clusters. Pollinated by insects.
The fruits are prickly and fuzzy. Pale brown. The seeds mature in August.
Leathery, spiny, entire, untoothed leaves. Glossy green above and pale and downy beneath. The leaves alternate along the branches.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Arorangi, Big-toothed Daisy Bush, Daisy Bush, Mountain Holly.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Olearia macrodonta is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. It is native to New Zealand and is commonly known as the "big-toothed daisy bush." It is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 5 meters in height and has large, glossy green leaves. The flowers are white and have a yellow center, and they appear in large clusters in late spring and early summer. O. macrodonta is hardy and easy to grow, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscaping in New Zealand and other countries with similar climates.


New Zealand Holly, also known as Olearia macrodonta, is a stunning evergreen shrub that is native to New Zealand. It is a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers due to its attractive foliage, beautiful flowers, and tolerance for a wide range of growing conditions. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at this plant and explore its characteristics, growing requirements, and uses in landscaping.

Characteristics of New Zealand Holly

New Zealand Holly is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 5 meters tall and 2 meters wide. Its leaves are leathery and dark green, with serrated edges that give the plant a holly-like appearance. The plant produces clusters of small white or pale pink flowers in spring and summer, which attract bees and other pollinators. After flowering, the plant produces small brown seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

Growing Requirements

New Zealand Holly is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It prefers a sunny or partially shaded location and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant is drought-tolerant once established, but it will benefit from regular watering during dry spells. New Zealand Holly can also tolerate light frosts, making it a suitable choice for gardens in colder climates.

Uses in Landscaping

New Zealand Holly is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of landscaping applications. Its attractive foliage and flowers make it a great choice for hedges, borders, and as a specimen plant in a garden. The plant's dense growth habit also makes it ideal for creating privacy screens or windbreaks. New Zealand Holly is also a popular choice for coastal gardens, as it can tolerate salty air and soil.

In addition to its ornamental value, New Zealand Holly also has practical uses. The plant's leaves have been used by Maori and early European settlers for medicinal purposes, including treating cuts and wounds. The leaves also contain compounds that have insecticidal properties, making them useful for repelling insects in the garden.

New Zealand Holly is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well-suited to a variety of landscaping applications. Its attractive foliage, beautiful flowers, and tolerance for a wide range of growing conditions make it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers. Whether used as a hedge, border, or specimen plant, New Zealand Holly is sure to add beauty and interest to any garden.

More Information

In addition to its uses in landscaping and its medicinal properties, New Zealand Holly also has ecological importance. The plant is an important source of food and habitat for a range of insects, including butterflies and bees. The flowers provide nectar and pollen, while the leaves provide shelter and food for caterpillars and other insects.

New Zealand Holly is also important in the conservation of New Zealand's native flora and fauna. The plant is a part of the native vegetation and is an important component of the ecosystem. Its dense growth habit helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, while also providing habitat for native wildlife.

It is worth noting that while New Zealand Holly is a hardy and adaptable plant, it can become invasive in some areas. In regions where it is not native, the plant can outcompete native vegetation and negatively impact the ecosystem. As such, it is important to ensure that the plant is only used in appropriate settings and managed carefully.

One interesting feature of New Zealand Holly is its adaptability to different soil types. While it prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, it can also grow in soils that are sandy, clayey, or rocky. This adaptability makes it a great choice for gardens or landscapes that have varying soil conditions.

Another benefit of New Zealand Holly is its low maintenance requirements. Once established, the plant is relatively easy to care for and requires little pruning or fertilization. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that still adds beauty and interest to their landscape.

New Zealand Holly is also resistant to many common pests and diseases, making it a good choice for gardeners who want to avoid using pesticides or other chemicals in their garden. However, like any plant, it can still be susceptible to some pests and diseases, so it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of infestation or illness.

Overall, New Zealand Holly is a great plant for gardeners who are looking for a versatile, low-maintenance plant that adds beauty and interest to their landscape. Its adaptability to different growing conditions, ecological importance, and practical uses make it a valuable addition to any garden or natural area. With proper care and management, New Zealand Holly can thrive and provide enjoyment for years to come.

Facts about New Zealand Holly

Here are some additional interesting facts about New Zealand Holly:

  • New Zealand Holly is part of the Asteraceae family, which includes other well-known plants such as sunflowers, daisies, and asters.
  • The plant is also commonly known as Toothed Daisy Bush, due to its serrated leaves.
  • New Zealand Holly is not actually related to the holly plant (Ilex genus) but gets its common name due to its holly-like leaves.
  • In its native New Zealand, the plant is an important food source for the native red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla).
  • The Maori people of New Zealand used the plant's leaves to treat a range of ailments, including toothache, stomachache, and wounds.

In summary, New Zealand Holly is a versatile and attractive plant that is well-suited to a variety of landscaping applications. Its holly-like leaves, beautiful flowers, and adaptability to different growing conditions make it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers. The plant also has practical uses and ecological importance, and with proper care and management, it can thrive and add beauty and interest to any garden or natural area.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map