Origin of name:
alti = deep, the depth
Compact heads, branched on long stalks
A mat-forming perennial herb, main stems up to 4 mm diam., older parts nude, younger densely clothed in greyish-white silky-woolly indumentum, stoloniferous, giving rise to numerous dwarf branches with closely rosetted leaves, flowering stems lateral, c. 20�50 (�100) mm long, leafy. Leaves spathulate, up to 45 x 15 mm, apex rounded, base broad, half-clasping, both surfaces closely greyish-white woolly-felted, the upper surface sometimes merely cobwebby (but glandular) with age. Heads homogamous, c. 5�6 mm long, 3 mm across, subcylindric, many in a subglobose terminal cluster 10�20 mm across, their bases felted together with grey wool. Involucral bracts in c. 4 series, subequal, very loosely imbricate, about equaling the flowers, spreading at the top but not radiating, glossy, bright canary-yellow, the outermost sometimes brownish. Receptacle with pit margins slightly produced. Flowers 4�6, yellow. Achenes c. 1,5 mm, ellipsoid, obscurely ribbed, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, slightly flattened, tips subplumose, bases cohering lightly by patent cilia.
May flower in September and October, but more usually between February and April.
The plants generally form big mats on cliff faces, rock platforms or stony ground between c. 1 900 and 3 200 m above sea level; the type specimen, from old Katberg Pass, is laxer, with longer flowering stems than usual, but it is surely no more than a particularly well-grown plant from a lower altitude (c. 1650 m). Recorded from Khotjoane Pass in northern Lesotho and the nearby Mont aux Sources area, thence along the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg as far south as Loteni, then a disjunction to old Katberg Pass between Seymour and Cathcart.
Helichrysum alticolum H. Bol., in Trans. S. Afr. phil. Soc. 18: 386 (1907); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 250 (1910).
Eastern Cape, Stockenstrom div., old Katberg Pass, c. 1650 m, Galpin 2397 (BOL, holo.; K; PRE, iso.).
H. alticolum var. montanum H. Bol. in Trans. S. Afr. phil. Soc. 18: 386 (1907); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 250 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 161 (1977). Lectotype: Natal, Drakensberg, summit Mont aux Sources, 11 000 ft, March 1898, Evans 742 (BOL; K; NH; PRE, isolecto.).
Esterhuysen18680 (BOL); Hilliard 5001 (E; K; NH; NU); Schelpe 1341 (E; NU); Trauseld 773 (NU); Wright 506 (E; NU).