Acaena buchananii – Ballyrobert Gardens

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Acaena buchananii

Acaena buchananii



About this cultivar:

Acaena buchananii is blue-green, fast growing, evergreen, mat-forming ornamental perennial from New Zealand. Finely feathered foliage with occasional contrasting rust-red burrs make this plant valuable ground cover for flower beds, rock gardens, path edges, and dry stone walls. Named after John Buchanan (13 October 1819-1898) who was a Scottish born New Zealand botanist, scientific artist and fellow of the Linnean Society.

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade
  • Soil: Almost any soil 
  • Flowers: July, August
  • Other features: Bees, Butterflies, and Bugs
  • Hardiness: Fully Hardy - Grows well in Ballyrobert, H5 - Hardy in most places throughout the UK even in severe winters (-15 to -10°C)
  • Habit: Mat forming
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Height: 0 to 5 cm  ( 0 - 0.2 ft)
  • Spread: 0 to 200 cm  ( 0 - 6 ft)
  • Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years
  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial
  • Colour: Green, blue
  • Goes well with: Wall, Fence

About this genus:

Acaena is a genus of about 100 species of mainly evergreen, creeping herbaceous perennial plants and subshrubs in the Rose family (Rosaceae), native mainly to the Southern Hemisphere, but with a few species extending into the Northern Hemisphere. But they do not look like Roses!

Mainly ground cover type plants, the leaves are alternate and often pinnate, you’ll likely not notice because they are usually small. The flowers are produced in a tight ball 1–2 cm in diameter, with no petals. So not really noticeable. The fruit is also a dense ball of many seeds which can give structure over winter. Like a miniature Echinops.

Several Acaena species in New Zealand are known by one of my favourite common names: bidibid. The word is written variously bidi-bidi, biddy-biddy, biddi-biddi, biddi-bid with other variations. These names are nothing to do with any Old Biddy but the English rendition of the original Māori name of piripiri. The plant is also called the New Zealand burr. The genus name Acaena is derived from the Greek "akaina" (thorn), referring to the spiny hip (technically hypanthium).

In the garden – basically use as ground cover and to fill gaps around rocks, paths and edges. They seem to grow most places that are not too extreme. Don’t like winter wet!