Origin of name:

diffusum = diffuse, irregularly or widely spreading

Diagnostic characters:

Compact inflorescence
White bracts, brown-tipped
Plants white-woolly


Wiry perennial herb, roots fibrous, stems slender, soft-wooded, decumbent or ascending, up to 500 mm long, simple below, sparingly branched above, greyish-white woolly, densely leafy. Leaves up to 40 x 25 mm, smaller and more distant upwards, oblong or elliptic, apex acute, mucronate, base broad, clasping, both surfaces greyish-white woolly. Heads homogamous, campanulate, c. 5�7 mm long, double that across the radiating bracts, up to c. 12 in a dense terminal corymbose cluster. Involucral bracts in c. 9 series, loosely imbricate, much exceeding flowers, acute, glossy, white, mostly tipped dark brown or purplish brown outside, rarely whole bract dull purple. Receptacle smooth or shortly honeycombed. Flowers 26�64, yellow. Achenes c. 1 mm, with duplex hairs. Pappus bristles many, scabrid, tips barbellate, white or purplish, bases cohering by patent cilia.


Flowers between September and December.


On Table Mountain Sandstone cliffs and outcrops above the Umtamvuna river and its tributaries in Port Shepstone district. Recorded from the mountains in Paarl, Stellenbosch, Worcester and Caledon divisions of the Western Cape, then a disjunction to southernmost KwaZulu-Natal.

Fynbos Biome.


KwaZulu-Natal specimens have slightly greyer foliage, more closely leafy flowering stems, and fewer flowers in the head than Cape specimens, but these are scarcely specific differences.




Helichrysum diffusum DC., Prodr. 6: 175 (1838); Harv. in F.C. 3: 223 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44:309 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 230 (1977).



Western Cape, Drakensteensberg, Dutoitskloof, Dr�ge 1792 (G-DC, holo.; BM; E; PRE; SAM; TCD, iso.).



Gnaphalium diffusum (DC.) Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 170 (1845).



Esterhuysen 8846 (BOL); Hilliard 3996 (E; K; MO; NU; PRE; S); Marsh 635 (PRE); Rodin 3250 (BOL; PRE); Stokoe 8127 (BOL).