Origin of name:

aureus / -a/ -um = golden

serotinum = late flowering or ripening

Diagnostic characters:

Flimsy plant

Large solitary heads

Bright yellow bracts


Perennial herb, 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 mm high, simple or sparingly branched towards the top, branches simple, glandular-setose, cobwebby or loosely woolly only in the upper part, leafy throughout. Radical leaves (30�) 60�150 x 5�15 mm, glandular-setose, margins and sometimes main veins woolly, or wool wanting; cauline leaves up to 70 x 10 mm, glandular-setose, margins not or scarcely woolly. Heads heterogamous, depressed-globose, 15�20 mm long, c. 35�40 mm across the radiating bracts, solitary or up to 4 subcorymbosely arranged on long leafy stalks. Involucral bracts in c. 7�9 series, graded, imbricate, much exceeding flowers, radiating, glossy, yellow, outer sometimes tinged brown. Receptacle scarcely honeycombed. Flowers 1079�1856, 76�185 female, 1003�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 May.


Grows in open grassland on mountain slopes. Along the Drakensberg from about Cathedral Peak Forest Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to Barkly Pass, Eastern Cape, the high Lesotho mountains, and Mount Gilboa, the highest point of the Karkloof Range, a spur of the Drakensberg, c. 1 800 to 2 600 m above sea level.


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. serotinum Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 34: 80 (1975), Compositae in Natal 253 (1977).



KwaZulu-Natal, Impendhle distr., 'Storm Heights', 7 100 ft, 9 i 1968, Wright 375 (NU, holo.; E, iso.).






Hilliard & Burtt 8999 (E; NU; S); Wright 409 (E; K; NH; NU).