One common name (in trochaic tetrameter, even) for Helichrysum petiolare, the ‘Moe’s Silver’ variety of which Juan Gomez and I admired at Palo Alto’s Gamble Gardens this morning, along with other features of the early-winter garden (gorgeous late-blooming roses, narcissus shoots boldly up, some already blooming, and much more). One nice feature of the beds in their mostly cut-back-for-winter state is that you can appreciate groundcovers and other low-growing plants, like the delightful silver-leaved, gold-flowered Moe’s Silver:
Helichrysum petiolare, known as silver-bush everlastingflower, licorice-plant, liquorice plant, trailing dusty miller and kooigoed, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae [the composites, aka the daisy family], native to South Africa and introduced to Portugal and the United States of America. [name from Gk. ἑλίσσω (helisso, to turn around) and χρῡσός (chrysos, gold)].
It is cultivated for its foliage effect and as groundcover [the flowers are white or yellow]. This plant prefers sun to part-shade with well-drained soil, being susceptible to root rot and is hardy to zones 9-11. The foliage has a faint licorice aroma. [The plant is classified as invasive in California by some sources.]
[herbal uses under the came Imphepho:] Rather than a single herb, Imphepho is a number of herbs (around 250 species) from the Helichrysum genus. The Helichrysum species used as Imphepho grow abundantly in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho but especially around coastal areas apart from the largely arid Northern Cape province. The plants grow abundantly in gardens and in the wild, for this reason most Imphepho is wild harvested and commercial cultivation in South Africa is unknown. Helichrysum species used as Imphepho are hardy and adaptable, they can grow in a wide variety of soil types, are drought resistant, wind resistant and can survive light frost. The seeds are wind dispersed. Little preference is shown for specific types of Imphepho, amongst traditional healers, local availability seems more important than a preference for a particular species. There is little evidence for medicinal properties being stronger in certain Helichrysum species and for ritual purposes they are all treated as exactly the same.