The genus Brachyscome (or Brachycome) has the common name of Australian daisy. These are popular with home gardeners and give a choice of annuals, perennials or small shrubs. There are almost 100 species with many attractive cultivars. The Australian daisy occurs in a wide range of habitats from coastal and alpine areas to arid inland regions. Cultivars are continually being developed resulting in an improvement in the size of blooms and the colours available. The flowers are a typical daisy-shape with yellow centres (usually) and pink, mauve, white, blue or lemon outer petals.
Brachyscome angustifolia (grassland daisy, stiff daisy) is a perennial found in all mainland states and in Tasmania. It forms a spreading mound of wiry stems. The leaves are linear and dark green. In spring and early summer, pink, blue or purple flower heads appear. A cultivar developed from this species is Mauve Delight, a strong grower that spreads via underground runners.
Brachyscome formosa (pilliga daisy) is named for the Pilliga region in New South Wales. The leaves are toothed and mauve-pink flowers are borne in spring and summer. Cultivars from this species include:
* Happy Face – fleshy leaves and purple-pink flowers
* Pilliga Posy – large cerise flowers on short stems
Brachyscome multifida is also known as the cut-leaf daisy as the leaves are soft with many divisions. It is found in temperate areas of Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. Cultivars include:
* B.m.dilatata – rounded form with more wedge-shaped leaves than its parent
* Break O’Day- hardier and more compact than parent, deep mauve flowers
* Evan – cushion-like with deep mauve blossoms
* Pink Haze – groundcover, pale pink flowers through most of the year
* White Surprise – white flowers
Brachyscome iberidifolia (Swan River daisy) is an erect annual named for the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia. The leaves are pinnate. Flowering is mainly from September to February. The daisy flower heads grow to 2cm diameter and may be white, blue or purple with yellow centres. It is relatively widely grown in both Australia and Europe. It can be frost-tender. Cultivars stemming from the Swan River daisy include Blue Mist, which has lilac-blue flowers and the stunning Blue Star which has flowers with a purple tint and quilled petals. As if these weren’t enough, it also has a light fragrance.
Other compact cultivars which are also prolific bloomers include:
* Ameythst – a groundcover
* Strawberry Mousse – bright pink flowers, reddish green foliage
* Toucan Tango (also known as Ultra) – lacy foliage with violet-blue flowers throughout the year
* Just Jayne – compact form, white to pale pink flowers
The Australian daisy likes well-drained soil in a sunny or semi-shaded position. Drought and frost tolerance varies according to the species chosen. It is a good choice for many landscaping tasks and is suited to rock gardens, banks, borders, hanging baskets and pots.