Sifton bush
Cassina arcuata

Sifton bush can grow to a height of 3 m, but most commonly it grows from 1 to 2 m. Mature plants generally have one main stem which branches into numerous smaller stems between 5 and 50 cm above the ground.

Bark on stems is dark grey-brown, furrowed and covered with white hairs.

Leaves are alternate, dark green and slender, 0.4-1.5 mm long, with rounded ends and rolled margins. They are often sticky and covered with matted white hairs on the under surface. When the bushes are bruised the plant emits a distinctive curry or coffee-like aroma.

Identification is easiest when the brown flowering heads are present, drooping on large plants.Cassinia quinquiferia and C. laevis plants have similar flowering heads but their leaves are up to 40 mm long.

Sifton bush seed is very small (0.75 x 0.4 mm; 25 million/kg) and topped with a hairy covering or ‘pappus’ of 25 bristles that are each 2 mm long.

Sifton bush seedlings are very erect and look like ‘mini’ pine trees. They are slow to establish in the first 3 months, but may reach 60 cm in the first year when conditions are favourable. They rarely flower before two years of age.

Flowering occurs from October to May depending on location, for example, flowering in the Orange district typically begins in December when yellow flower buds appear and ends in May when seeds ripen and begin to disperse.