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Common Name: Curry Plant
Helichrysum italicum is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
Arid hills, rocks and cliffs[
Requires a light well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[
]. Intolerant of excessive moisture[
]. Established plants are drought resistant[
]. Plants have proved to be fairly wind tolerant in an exposed site in Cornwall[
This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -10°c[
Plants can be pruned back to the old wood in spring in order to maintain the shape of the plant and promote lots of new growth[
The whole plant smells of curry, especially after rain[
The flowering stems are often dried and used as 'everlasting flowers'[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Leaves - used as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods[
]. They have a slight flavour of curry, though they do not impart this very well to other foods[
An essential oil (from the leaves?) is used as a flavouring to enhance fruit flavours in sweets, ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks and chewing gum[
A tea is made from the flower heads[
Plants can be grown as a low hedge, the subspecies H. italicum serotinum(Boiss.)P.Fourn. is normally used[
]. It responds well to trimming.
Seed - sow late winter/early spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5cm with a heel, early summer/July in a frame. Roots in 4 weeks. Good percentage[