Santolina is mainly indigenous in Mediterranean regions, and comprises 10 species of fragrant, low-growing, (sub-)shrubs.

This is a more or less winter-hardy, deciduous, woody-stemmed shrub, with spreading, finely pinnate leaves which consist of thin leaflets, and long-stemmed, spherical, yellow, cream or white flowerheads consisting of numerous small, tubular flowers and no ray flowers. S. chamaccyparissus (syn. S. incana), cotton lavender, is a compact, branched shrub, 30-50 cm tall, with silvery, white-felted, hair)’ shoots and leaves, compact, aromatic leaves, 1-4 cm long, consisting of short, thick leaflets, and numerous bright yellow flowerheads which protrude above the shrub. S. chamaccyparissus ‘Edward Bowles’ (syn. S. neapolitana ‘Edward Bowles’) is a more open shrub with greyish leaves and yellow flowerheads. S. rosmarinifolia (syn. S. vircns), holy flax, is a broad shrub, 40-50 cm tall, with hairless, stiff, green leaves, consisting of very short leaflets, and thin-stemmed, bright yellow flowerheads.

This shrub requires a warm, sheltered, sunny spot, and well-drained, fairly nutritious, lime-rich to neutral or slightly acid soil. It is resistant to drought and sea wind. Cover during severe winters, prune in spring and remove dead flowers. Propagate from winter cuttings.

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