Origin of name:

argyros = silver

lepis = scale

Diagnostic characters:

Small needle-like leaves

Large solitary leaves

White / cream bracts


Soft-wooded subshrub with tangled masses of branching stems from a woody stock, stems greyish-white felted, closely leafy throughout. Leaves linear or linear-lanceolate, c. 6�25 x 1�2 (�3) mm, smaller and more distant upwards, appressed or spreading, eventually reflexed, tips acute or subacute, apiculate, base broad, half-clasping, margins more or less revolute, upper surface glandular-pubescent and thickly greyish-white cobwebby or woolly, lower more closely felted. Heads heterogamous, rarely homogamous, campanulate, 13�15 mm long, c. 25 mm across the fully radiating bracts, solitary at branch tips. Involucral bracts in c. 10 series, graded, loosely imbricate, inner much exceeding flowers, acute, glossy white, mostly palest to dark chestnut brown above, rarely rose-pink. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers 111�232, (0�) 5�25 female, 98�227 homogamous. Achenes 1�1,5 mm long, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, barbellate above, bases not cohering.


Flowering between November and April.


Grows in large tangled clumps in grassland, particularly among outcropping rocks. Ranges from Mount Sheba in the Mpumalanga Drakensberg to the high country Mpumalanga and neighboring Swaziland and through the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal to Umzimkulu district in the Eastern Cape and the Suurberg near Weza in southernmost KwaZulu-Natal.


Grassland and Savanna Biomes.


Specimens in the southern part of the range have distinctly glandular as well as woolly leaves and heads mostly c. 15 mm long; in Mpumalanga and Swaziland, leaves are generally smaller and less markedly glandular and heads are c. 13 mm long.




Helichrysum argyrolepis Mac-Owan in Bot. J. Linn. Soc., 25: 387 (1890); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 333 (1910); Compton, Fl. Swaziland 628 (1976); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 227 (1977).



Lectotype: Transkei, Mt Malowe, c. 1 830 m, Tyson 2788 (K; PRE).






Acocks 12744 (PRE); Compton 26713 (NBG; PRE); Hilliard 5491 (E; K; MO; NU; S); Junod 4392 (PRE).