Origin of name:

capensis / -e  = from the Cape of Good Hope (sens. lat.), South Africa

Diagnostic characters:

Almost round leaves with sharp tips
Compact inflorescence on long stalk
Small clusters of medium sized heads
Bracts hairy, bract hairs yellowish or brownish


Perennial herb, cushion-forming, stems diffuse, prostrate or scrambling, occasionally rooting at the nodes, branching, young parts greyish-white woolly-felted, closely leafy, flowering twigs with distant reduced leaves. Leaves mostly 11-14 x 5-6 mm, diminishing slightly upwards, then abruptly much reduced and distant below the heads, obovate to obovate-oblong, narrowed to the base, uppermost oblong, sessile, apex rounded or obtuse, mucronate, upper surface thinly greyish-white woolly, often glabrescent, lower thickly and persistently woolly. Heads heterogamous, campanulate, c. 4 x 4 mm up to c. 12 in congested rounded terminal clusters. Involucral bracts in 4-5 series, imbricate, graded, inner equaling flowers, not radiating , lanceolate to oblong, straw-coloured, tips rounded or acute, often dark, whole bract thickly silky-villous dorsally, hairs yellowish. Receptacle smooth. Flowers 15-29, 4-6 female, 11-23 homogamous. Achenes not seen, ovaries 5-ribbed, with duplex hairs, not myxogenic. Pappus bristles many, shaft barbellate, becoming shortly plumose above, bases cohering by patent cilia.

Flowers between September and December, mainly in November and December.


On mountains where it favours damp shady places on cliffs or among rocks, c. 600-1500 m. Endemic to the SW. and S. Cape from the Peninsula east to Ruyter's Kop in Mossel Bay district.

Fynbos Biome.


This is the plant that Harvey called H. marifolium, but that name should be applied to what has hitherto been called H. umbellatum.




Helichrysum capense Hilliard in Bot. J. Linn. Soc 82: 200 (1981).



Cape, Riversdale distr., on Kampsche Berg, 9 xii 1814, Burchell 7091 (G-DC, holo.; K, iso.).



Eriosphaera apiculata DC., Prodr. 6:166 (1838), non Helichrysum apiculatum (Labill.) DC. Type as above.

E. oculus-cati sensu DC., Prodr. 6:166 (1838), non (Lf) Less

Helichrysum marifolium var. ? oblongifolium DC., Prodr. 6: 186 (1838). Type: Cape, E. slopes Table Mountain, near Constantia, Ecklon 504 (G-DC).

H. marifolium sensu Harv. in F.C. 3: 230 (1865); Levyns in Adamson & Salter, Fl. Cape Penins. 782 (1950), non DC.



Esterhuysen 17592 (BOL; PRE); Stokoe 8128 (BOL; NBG; PRE); Taylor 6587 (PRE).