Origin of name:

aureus / -a/ -um = golden

argenteus / -a / -um = silvery

Diagnostic characters:

A robust, woolly plant

Large solitary heads

Bright yellow bracts


Perennial herb, flowering stems 200�400 mm high, simple or forking above into the compound inflorescence, loosely silvery-grey woolly, very variable in stature, in leaf-size and indumentum, and in head size, stock becoming very stout and woody, crown up to c. 25 mm diam. producing one or several leaf rosettes, flowering stems several, lateral to the rosettes, c. 100�400 (�800) mm high, simple or sparingly branched towards the top, branches simple, glandular-setose, often cobwebby or loosely white-woolly as well, leafy throughout. Radical leaves up to 75 x 15 mm, oblanceolate, apex acute, base broad, clasping, both surfaces loosely silvery-grey woolly; cauline leaves up to c. 50 x 10 mm, decreasing in size upwards, lanceolate, acute to shortly acuminate, margins often crisped-undulate, both surfaces loosely silvery-grey woolly. Heads heterogamous, depressed-globose, c. 15�18 mm long, c. 30�35 mm across the radiating bracts, solitary or up to c. 6 corymbosely arranged at the stem tip on long or short leafy peduncles. Involucral bracts in c. 7�9 series, graded, imbricate, much exceeding flowers, radiating, glossy, bright golden-yellow, outer sometimes overlaid palest brown or buff, occasionally snow-white. Receptacle scarcely honeycombed. Flowers 311�1856, 34�284 female, 251�1671 homogamous, yellow. Achenes 0,75�1 mm long, barrel-shaped, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, tips barbellate, bases with patent cilia not or scarcely cohering.


Flowering between December and February.


Growing in montane grassland, c. 1 800�2 000 m above sea level. Recorded only from Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga and on a neighbouring farm, Oshoek.


Grassland Biome.


Six varieties are recognized:


la Involucral bracts yellow, outer sometimes pale brown or buff:

2a Heads mostly 15�20 mm long measured from base of outer involucral bracts to tips of longest inner ones, c. 35�45 mm across the fully radiating involucral bracts; if only 30 mm across, then on cliffs in the Drakensberg:

3a Flowering stems loosely woolly or cobwebby mostly throughout; flowering mainly between August and December:

4a Plants growing in grassland or scrub:

5a Cauline leaves only very lightly woolly, or wool confined to margins and midline

(a) var. aureum

5b Cauline leaves thickly and persistently silver-grey woolly

(f) var. argenteum

4b Plants growing on cliff faces or on rocky terrain immediately below cliffs in the Drakensberg

(b) var. scopulosum

3b Flowering stems woolly or cobwebby only in the uppermost part, flowering mainly between January and April

(c) var. serotinum

2b Heads mostly 8�15 mm long, up to 32 mm across the radiating bracts, growing in grassland

(d) var. monocephalum

1b Involucral bracts snow-white

(e) var. candidum




Helichrysum aureum (Houtt.) Merrill var. argenteum Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 40: 252 (1982).



Mpumalanga, Wakkerstroom distr., Wakkerstroom Commonage, c. 1 800 m, 20 xii 1979, Devenish 1951 (NU, holo.; E, iso.).






Beeton 199 (PRE; SAM; STE); Devenish 1217 (PRE).