Helichrysum Species, Curry Plant, Immortelle, Italian Strawflower

Helichrysum italicum

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helichrysum (hel-ih-KRY-sum) (Info)
Species: italicum (ee-TAL-ih-kum) (Info)
Synonym:Helichrysum angustifolium
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Good Fall Color



This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Fontana, California

Merced, California

Santa Rosa, California

Hollywood, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

Wakulla Springs, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Wichita, Kansas

Florence, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

Farmington, New Mexico

Raleigh, North Carolina

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Lake Oswego, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Abilene, Texas

Austin, Texas

Azle, Texas

Belton, Texas

Buda, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Houston, Texas

Manchaca, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Elma, Washington

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 30, 2013, plantlover13 from new york,
United States wrote:

Just FYI, "cutty plant" is NOT the same as curry leaf tree, which is what is used as a flavoring. Murraya koenigii is the edible one.


On Aug 7, 2012, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Helichrysum is one of my favorite essential oils. It is extremely beneficial for topical skin care. This essential oil is GRAS - Generally Regarded As Safe - meaning that it can be ingested in small doses. We use it periodically on a toothbrush for oral care. While kimfall's stew may not have a flavor to her liking, it should be one of the healthiest meals she has ever served to her children :)


On Aug 6, 2012, kimfall from Buda, TX wrote:

I just ruined a whole pot of stew with this plant. It has a STRONG bitter taste, in spite of it's delicious smell. Do not use it for cooking. I am concerned about feeding this stew to my children. Is the plant unsafe to eat? It tastes horrible.


On Jul 25, 2012, gwendusty from windsor ontario,
Canada wrote:

I have one of these plants and love it, smells like maple syrup to me. U can eat it, treat it kinda like a rosemary plant, it does come from there abouts. oh and some one was talking about fertilizer all the websites i searched said do not fertilize, it likes poor soil like a rosemary or morningglorys!!


On Jul 3, 2012, lotone67 from Reno, TX wrote:

Love this plant. Grows with no effort on my part whatsoever. Bought two in little four inch pots about four years ago and both are the size of small bushes now. The aroma is intoxicating, I love it. Our winters here in North Texas have no effect on them whatsoever, not even a couple of nasty ice storms that had them completely buried in ice and snow. When they finally thawed out they looked like nothing at all had happened to them....awesome.


On Jun 24, 2012, Spokaloo from Spokane, WA wrote:

This plant is growing like crazy in Zone 5. It was free at the end of a season, so I thought I'd see if it could struggle through and survive. It thrived in my xeric landscape. I transplanted it today (6/24) and hope it will make it through the hot summer.


On Jan 25, 2010, Cixi from Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia wrote:

An excellent plant. I had one for several years, then it died (I think when we had a very hot weekend and it didn't get watered). I wanted to get another one but couldn't find one right away, so kept the dead one for a while - it still has scent!


On Mar 21, 2008, RitaWhite from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

I just wanted to add this to the comments on this plant because no one else mentioned it. I discovered the plant while shopping for facial moisturizer at a shop called L'Occitane. The oils from the flowers are invaluable as moisturizers for the skin, they have a complete line of products called "Immortelle" it is so excellent. I just had to get my plants so I can see them bloom into those beautiful bright yellow little flowers! Thanks for all your info!


On Feb 5, 2008, Mclovin from Rockville, MD wrote:

This plant is used for cooking, but unlike the indian curry leaves this plant is not eaten. Add it to soups or stews and remove it. It is known to irritate the stomach when eaten. That is why it is not popular in the culinary world. I like to steam fish in wine and throw in herbs including silver leaf curry, but I then remove it without eating it.


On Jun 27, 2007, hilladen from Lake Oswego, OR wrote:

This is a great little herb! It grows amazingly well, looks nice, and smells nice. Though the odor can be a little over powering at times, espicially after I have trimmed it and smelled like curry all day.

This plant is edible but is not used for curry (curry is a mixture of many different spices and various around the world). It does however have uses as an essential oil.


On Jun 11, 2007, jic from Camberley,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

ManicReality is mistaken: Helichrysum italicum is not used in Indian food, and got the name Curry Plant simply because it smells like curry powder.

It is edible, but it tastes nothing like it smells: it's grassy with a bitter aftertaste (or sometimes just bitter), and in my opinion it's best used for flavoring meats before roasting. I have also seen it recommended for salads, sandwiches (especially with cream cheese), and for boiling with vegetables or rice. I wouldn't consider it valuable as a herb; it's mainly grown as an ornamental. In other words, it isn't grown because it's used as a herb; it's used as a herb because people are growing it anyway.

Because of its name, it is often confused with Curry Leaf, Murraya koenigii.


On May 29, 2007, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

A new plant for me, found it in the herb section at one of my fave nurseries. While it smells like curry, I don't think you cook with it.
Mine is planted inground, part sun and protected by a big tree.

This plant has done so well for me, I purchased 3 more. Reminds me of rosemary but with a curry scent. Do not overwater, great for a xeriscape garden.


On May 28, 2007, jackie4762 from South Wales,
United Kingdom wrote:

I love this plant - its colour provides interest and structure in the herbaceous border and it smells wonderful when disturbed. It likes a sunny, but sheltered spot. I prune it back to (but not into) old wood in the spring to encourage new growth otherwise it gets straggly and woody. As for cooking with it, the leaves of the plant that is used in making curries comes from the Indian bay or Curry leaf (Botanical name: Murraya koenigii).


On Apr 22, 2007, ManicReality from Houston, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

Yes! It's edible, go by any Indian restaurant or look online for Indian recipes.... Your nose knows... I love the smell of this plant, I had never imagined it would be so pretty to top it off. Also since I have gotten it, it seems to take care of itself, Another great benefit. I can't wait to move in to the place where I planted it, and start cooking :)


On Apr 7, 2006, givemeliberti from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I was told it was not "really" edible at Tallahassee Nursery, so I'm wondering if it is or not. I'll keep searching the web for more info. Please let me know if your know for sure if it's edible.


On Mar 7, 2004, slusarczyk wrote:

We brought this plant because of its very interesting smell! Thank you for confirming with us that we could you it to flavour food as we were always curious!


On Jan 27, 2004, kviolette from Raleigh, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a drought and sun tolerant plant surviving upon a stacked stone wall with a full western sun exposure close to a large pine tree. The curry fragrance gives pleasure to work or water around.

With no protection or covering, this plant winters over here in Raleigh, NC with no die back and little to no leaf burn. Perhaps the dry conditions aid in this?

Evergreen, silvery gray-green foliage and early summer golden yellow button-like blooms in early summer.


On Jan 25, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

The fragrance of these seems to be variable. Mine smells like a candy bar from the old days: Bit 'O Honey. Lovely silver foliage, drought tolerant, and has overwintered here in zone 6 the past 2 years. Easy to root tip cuttings for insurance against winter loss.


On Nov 11, 2003, ShadowsChaseMe from Adelaide,
Australia wrote:

I have this growing in the dwarf variety, it's silver foliage is almost white and stunning against the red brick path. The nursery told me that you can cook with the leaves, sautee'd in oil, they give a nice taste to onions as a flavour base for stews and curries.


On Nov 22, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just found these curiosities at a local store and purchased some. The curry scent is very real and unusual, to say the least. Can't find much information on them, but the label says they 'spread' so we'll see how they do, I have several other helichrysums that are doing well so far in zone 9 coastal Nor. CA.