Perennial herb, stock stout, woody, flowering stems several from the crown, simple or rarely forked, erect to c. 600 mm, loosely grey-woolly, leafy throughout. Radical leaves rosetted, c. 65�150 x 8�16 (�27) mm, oblong-lanceolate, apex acute, base broad, clasping, both surfaces loosely grey-woolly, upper surface also with long coarse hairs, wool occasionally wanting with age; cauline leaves erect, imbricate, smaller than the radical, decreasing in size upwards, oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, acute to acuminate, base half-clasping, very shortly decurrent, both surfaces loosely grey-woolly. Heads homogamous, campanulate, (6�) 7�8 mm long, several to many in a tight subglobose cluster up to 45 mm across, base of compound head webbed with wool. Involucral bracts in c. 6 series, subequal, loosely imbricate, exceeding the flowers, radiating, glossy, bright yellow, outer sometimes tinged golden brown, all acute or inner sometimes subacute or subobtuse and this often associated with smaller (i.e. shorter) heads. Receptacle with fimbrils exceeding ovaries. Flowers 36�59. Achenes 1 mm long, barrel-shaped, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, about equaling the corolla, scabrid, bases cohering by patent cilia.
Flowering between January and July but chiefly in February, March and April.
Grows in grassland, from sea level to c. 2 000 m. Recorded principally from KwaZulu-Natal, where it ranges from Dundee southwards to the Transkei border and Bizana district in the Transkei.
Grassland, Savanna and Thicket Biomes.
Closely allied to H. cephaloideum from which it is distinguished by its larger heads, (6�) 7�8 mm long with, typically, all the involucral bracts acute, and longer, narrower and more acute radical leaves, a character difficult to define precisely. It is possible that some crossing takes place.
Helichrysum auriceps Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 34: 258 (1976), Compositae in Natal 188 (1977).
Lectotype: KwaZulu-Natal, Richmond, Schlechter 6722 (BOL; PRE; Z!).
H. araneosum Klatt in Bull. Herbarium Boissier 4: 834 (1896), non Bak. (1887). Types: Kwa-Zulu Natal, between Howick and Pinetown, Junod 186 (Z); Richmond, Schlechter 6722 (BOL; PRE; Z).
Codd 2796 (NU; PRE); Hilliard & Burtt 8022 (E; K; NU); Ross 2099 (NU; PRE); Wright 472 (E; K; NH; NU).