Photo: J. Burrows

Origin of name:

galpinii = after the discoverer, Ernest Edward Galpin (1888-1941), bank manager and important plant collector.

Diagnostic characters:

Mat-forming with a woody base
Medium sized heads in very dense round clusters
Flowering stems short
Straw-coloured bracts


Dwarf shrub, main stems up to 10 mm diam., woody, gnarled, lateral branches prostrate, spreading, mat-forming, intricately branched, ultimate branchlets erect to c. 30 mm, densely leafy. Leaves spreading, mostly 5-15 x 0.75-1 (-2) mm, linear, apex subacute, base broad, clasping, both surfaces enveloped in thick silvery grey, closely woven, slightly glossy, skin-like indumentum. Heads homogamous, campanulate, c. 4 x 4 mm, up to 10 in a tight globose cluster surrounded by a few linear bracts, the heads more or less free from each other, each cluster at the tip of an erect terminal remotely leafy silky-felted peduncle 10-50 mm tall. Involucral bracts in c. 5 series, graded, imbricate, about equaling flowers, tawny or straw-coloured, tips obtuse or subacute, crisped, minutely radiating. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers 15-36. Achenes not seen, ovaries glabrous. Pappus bristles many, about equaling corolla, tips barbellate, bases nude, not cohering.

Flowering between September and December.


Forms mats spreading over rock outcrops and hanging from rocky cliffs (sandstone, granite, quartzite). In Mpumalanga and Swaziland from the mountains at Haenertsburg south along the escarpment and over the Steenskampsberge to the Barberton Mountains and Mbabane district in Swaziland.

Grassland and Savanna Biome.


Var. tenuis is no more than a lax specimen produced under favourable growing conditions.




Helichrysum galpinii N.E. Br. in Kew Bull. 1906: 22 (1906); Compton, Fl. Swaziland 630 (1976).



Mpumalanga, near Barberton, summit Saddleback Mtn, 5 000 ft, Galpin 544 (K, holo.; BOL; PRE, iso.).



H. galpinii var. tenuis Burtt Davy in Jl S. Afr. Bot. 1: 108 (1935). Type: Mpumalanga, Lydenburg distr., Belfast, Bolus. 11970 (K, holo.; BM; BOL; PRE, iso.).



Codd 8208 (PRE); Compton 30254 (NBG, PRE); Galpin 14635 (NU; PRE); Hilliard 2973 (NU); Junod 972 (G).