Diagnostic characters:

Bright yellow bracts
Solitary heads in open branched inflorescence
Lanceolate leaves
Leaf margins woolly


Perennial herb, stock often with vegetative buds, stems solitary or 2�6 from the base, usually simple below the inflorescence branches, mostly c. 750�1 500 mm high, precocious plants shorter, glandular setose, upper parts sometimes thinly cobwebby as well, leafy throughout. Leaves mostly 50�70 (�80) x 8�20 (�26) mm, smaller on the inflorescence branches, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, uppermost lanceolate, acute to acuminate, mucronate, base cordate-clasping, shortly decurrent, both surfaces glandular-setose, margins and mid-vein below often white-woolly as well. Heads heterogamous, depressed-globose, c. 10�15 mm long, c. (20�) 23�28 mm across the radiating bracts, few to many in a leafy spreading corymbose panicle. Involucral bracts in c. 9 series, graded, imbricate, much exceeding the flowers, glossy, bright yellow. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers c. 720�1130, 55�100 female, 800�1025 homogamous. Achenes 1 mm long, barrel-shaped, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling the corolla, tips barbellate, shaft scabrid, bases cohering by patent cilia.


Flowering principally in March and April.


Grows in marshes and along wet streambanks. Recorded from the highlands of North-West Province, Gauteng and Mpumalanga, from Rustenburg in the W. to Graskop in the E., in the Lowveld around Plaston and Nelspruit, and W. Swaziland near Oshoek, Mbabane and Forbes Reef.

Grassland and Savanna Biomes.


Much confused with H. cooperi, but distinguished by its perennial habit, generally shorter and narrower cauline leaves, and generally larger heads. See also H. molestum.

The following specimens, which have leaves thinly white-woolly below, are possibly no more than variants of H. difficile, but only field studies can determine that: Bryant D58, PRE (Johannesburg, Turffontein); Codd 2887, K; NU; PRE (10 km SW. of Nylstroom); Jenkins TM 12721, PRE (Olifants River); Walker 47, J (W. Rand, Witkoppen). Similar plants occur in the E. Highlands of Zimbabwe and in Mozambique.

See under H. albilanatum for possible hybrids.



Helichrysum difficile Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 40: 253 (1982).



Mpumalanga, 2430 DD, Graskop, 2 km from town on road to Blyde River Canyon, marsh, 14 iii 1981, Hilliard & Burtt 14335 (NU, holo.; E; K; M; MO; PRE; S, iso.).






Hilliard & Burtt 14409 (E; K; NU; PRE; S); Jacobsen 956 (PRE); Lambrechts 306 (PRE); Mogg 17305 (NU; PRE).