Origin of name:
basalticum = growing in basaltic rock
Velvety leaves, large and broadBasal leaf rosette presentMedium-sized heads, often felted together at the baseCompact inflorescence
Perennial herb with a cluster of very short branches at the crown, each producing a rosette of leaves, flowering stems several, lateral, simple or branched, prostrate, 40-120 (-400) mm long, grey-woolly, leafy. Radical leaves up to 40 x 15 mm, obovate-oblong, apex obtuse, base slightly narrowed, half-clasping, both surfaces thickly grey-woolly; cauline leaves similar but commonly smaller and narrowly oblong. Heads heterogamous, campanulate, c. 4 x 4 mm, many felted together at the base in a congested, rounded, terminal, corymbose cluster 15-20 mm across, occasionally up to 4 of these clusters in turn closely agglomerated. Involucral bracts in 3 series, loosely imbricate, about equaling the flowers, not radiating, translucent, tawny-yellow, mostly tipped golden brown. Receptacle honeycombed. Flowers c. 40-70, c. 27-38 female, 22-35 homogamous, yellow. Achenes 0.75 mm, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, delicate, tips barbellate, bases with patent cilia, not cohering.
Flowering between February and April.
Forms small mats on basalt sheets and bare stony ground. Along the high Drakensberg, from Mont aux Sources (Bergville district, KwaZulu-Natal) to Naude's Nek in the Cape Drakensberg north of Maclear.
Helichrysum basalticum Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 32: 344 (1973), Compositae in Natal 164 (1977).
Lesotho, Phutha, near Mokhotlong, c. 10000 ft. alt., Compton 21570 (NBG, holo.).
Gnaphalium alticolum Compton in Jl S. Afr. Bot. 19: 113 (1953), non Helichrysum alticolum H. Bol., 1907. Type: Lesotho, Phutha, near Mokhotlong, c. 10000 ft. alt., Compton 21570 (NBG, holo.).
Gnaphalium alticolum Compton in Jl S. Afr. Bot. 19: 113 (1953), non Helichrysum alticolum H. Bol., 1907. Type as above.
Vouchers:Galpin 14102 (NH; S); Hilliard 5340 (E; K; M; NBG; NU; PRE; S); Hilliard & Burtt 6725 (E; K; M; MO; NBG; NU; PRE; S); Nordenstam 2136 (S); Smook 7110 (PRE).