The Q&A Archives: Helichrysum???? Licorice plant...strawflower?

Question: Here's one crazy predicament! Our nursery carries hundereds of varieties of plants and I am very attentive to many of the plant names-common and scientific. I've wondered about this mis-matching of names for quite some time and wonder what is going on here. Our licorice plant vines and our strawflowers both have the scientific name helichrysum (spelling correct?) on the tag. What are the correct scentific names for each plant? Or is this something where the 2 plants are related----although they do not look alike in any fashion. And does the licorice plant produce flower?

Answer: Helichrysum is a member of the Asteraceae (composite) family. Strawflowers are Helichrysum bracteatum, annual plants from Australia. Helichrysum petiolare, the licorice plant, is a perennial in warm winter zones and an annual in your gardening zone. It comes from South Africa. They do produce insignificant flowers, but are mainly grown for their trailing foliage. Plant classification has more to do with the appearance of the flowers than it does with the foliage or growth habit of a plant. Both the strawflowers and the licorice plants have daisylike flowers which puts them in the Asteraceae family. Hope this clarifies things for you!

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