Common names:

Vaal sewejaartjie, vrouebossie, Helichrysum weed

Origin of name:

argyrophyllus / -a / -um = silver-leaved

Diagnostic characters:

Large heads in branched inflorescences

Tumeric-yellow bracts


Prostrate, well-branched, mat-forming dwarf shrub often forming extensive carpets, old stems bare, rooting, flowering branchlets decumbent or erect to c. 100 mm, simple, closely leafy, stems, leaves and base of each head closely enveloped in silvery white, closely-felted somewhat glossy indumentum. Leaves at first rosetted at the branch tips, obovate or obovate-spathulate, up to 30 x 10 mm, distant, smaller and narrower upwards on the flowering twigs, apex obtuse, hooked, recurved, base attenuated, half-clasping. Heads homogamous, broadly campanulate, c. 10 x 20 mm across the fully radiating bracts; solitary or few in lax corymbs. Involucral bracts in c. 8 series, graded, inner much exceeding the flowers, radiating, loosely imbricate, sub-acute, lemon-yellow, outer overlaid golden-brown. Receptacle paleate, paleae about twice the length of the ovaries, lanceolate, more or less conduplicate, yellow, scarious. Flowers 149�202. Achenes not seen, ovaries glabrous. Pappus bristles many, about equaling corolla, yellow, scabridulous below, barbellate above, bases not cohering.


Flowering between December and March.


Favours dry places such as the edges of rock sheets in grassland and hard bare ground. Soon dominates overgrazed or otherwise mismanaged grassland and has become a problem particularly in the Amatola Mountains. Recorded from a small area of the Eastern Cape from about Ugie and Engcobo to Katberg, the Amatola Mountains, and the mountains about Pirie.


Grassland and Savanna Biomes.




Helichrysum argyrophyllum DC., Prodr. 6: 186 (1838); Harv. in F.C. 3: 233 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 238 (1910); Batten & Bokelmann, Wild Flow. E. Cape Prov. 151, plate 121, 1 (1966).



Lectotype: Cape, Kaffraria, Ecklon 1376 (G-DC).



Gnaphalium argyrophyllum (DC.) Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 171 (1845).



Dahlstrand 2768 (PRE); Pegler 1608 (PRE); Tyson 2919 (E; PRE; SAM).