Guide to Growing New Zealand Bur (Bidibid, Purple Goose Leaf, and Greater Burnet)

The common name for the low-growing Hardy perennial Acaena are New Zealand Bur, Bidibid, Purple Goose Leaf, and Greater Burnet.

They typically flowers from July until the first frost.

The Acaena genus belongs to the Rosaceae family, and consists of approximately one-hundred species, most of which are native to the southern hemisphere.

Acaena novae-zelandiae
Acaena novae-zelandiae photograph by Macleay Grass Man

Acaena magellanica (Greater Burnet) picture by Liam Quinn

Acaena inermis purpurea
Acaena inermis purpurea photograph by FarOutFlora

Acaena microphylla
Acaena microphylla by Wallygrom

Be sure to check out my Acaena microphylla specific growing guide.

Description of Acaena inermis purpurea and similar species

Acaena species such as Bidibid, New Zealand Bur and Purple sheep's burr have brightly coloured leaves and burs, making it an ideal plant for rockeries. The flowers have no petals and are form globes.

Acaena novae-zelandiae is a small evergreen, and in addition to New Zealand it is a native plant in South America and Australia. This species is considered to be invasive in the united kingdom.

Acaena inermis purpurea has alternate pinnate leaves of about 7 cm; these are usually purple to brown.

Acaena microphylla is low growing with bronze leaves.

How to Grow Acaena

It is best to plant outside, either after the last frost or in the autumn. It typically takes between one and three months to germinate at a temperature between 10 to 15 degrees celcius.

They should be spaced 8 to 12 cm apart and planted to a depth of 1/2 cm. They prefer light and can be grown in full sun or part shade. They prefer a sandy or gritty soil, and can will die in standing water. If starting the plant off inside it should be planted twelve weeks before planting.

Caring for Acaena

Acaena is a very difficult plant to grow, it is important not to water it from above and to supply winter mulch at high Northern latitudes.

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