Photo: H. Heilgendorf

Photo: H. Heilgendorf

Photo: H. Heilgendorf

Origin of name:

griseus / -a/ -um = grey

Diagnostic characters:

Large basal leaf rosette
Bracts pink
Open, branched, long-stalked inflorescence


Perennial herb, rootstock stout, woody, crown brown silky-woolly, flowering stems up to c. 700 mm high, simple, one or several tufted together, woolly-felted, remotely leafy in lower part, remotely leafy or bracteate upwards. Leaves often only 3 or 4, ascending, up to 200 x 80 mm, broadly elliptic or ovate, apex more or less acute, base somewhat narrowed in lower leaves, broad, cordate-clasping in upper, upper surface thinly cobwebby at first, later harshly pubescent, lower greyish-white felted, faintly 5�9-nerved, reticulate. Heads homogamous, campanulate, c. 6 x 5 mm, many in a congested or lax corymbose cyme. Involucral bracts in c. 4 series, subequal, closely imbricate, base woolly, tips glossy, subopaque, bright deep or pale pink or buff, very acute to acuminate, squarrose. Receptacle with fimbrils longer than ovaries. Flowers 25�31. Achenes c. 1 mm long, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases lightly fused.

Flowering between August and October.


Grows in grassland, up to c. 1200 m. From Umvoti district in KwaZulu-Natal south to East London, Eastern Cape.

Savanna and Thicket Biome.


Most prolific after fire. Can be confused with H. pilosellum but easily distinguished by its very acute squarrose bracts.




Helichrysum griseum Sond. in Linnaea 23: 65 (1850); Harv. in F.C. 3: 237 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 262 (1910); Wood, Natal Plants 6,2: t. 549 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 173 (1977).



Lectotype: Port Natal, Gueinzius 322 (S; G (herbarium Boiss.); P; W, isolecto.).



H. agrostophilum Klatt in Bull. Herbarium Boissier 4: 833 (1896) p.p. quoad spec. Schlechter 6216 (Z).



Batten s.n. (E; K; NU); Flanagan 349 (BOL; K; SAM); Hilliard 1624 (E; NU); Pegler 86 (BOL); Rudatis 1712 (PRE).