Diagnostic characters:

Straw-coloured golden bracts
Large solitary heads
Leaves hairy, linear/lanceolate


Stoloniferous perennial herb, flowering stems up to 400 mm tall, solitary or few together, simple or forking above, closely leafy throughout. Radical leaves more or less rosulate, spreading, elliptic or obovate, up to 50 x 20 mm, loosely cobwebby above at first, later glabrous except for a few coarse hairs, white-felted below; cauline leaves 10�20 (�25) x 1�2 (�5) mm, erect, more or less imbricate, commonly linear to linear-lanceolate, sometimes broader, acute to acuminate, base broad, clasping, margins often revolute, upper surface greyish-white cobwebby, lower loosely felted. Heads heterogamous, or rarely homogamous, campanulate, 18�20 mm long, 26�28 mm across the fully radiating bracts, solitary at the tips of the branches, or sometimes in a few-headed corymb. Involucral bracts in c. 8 series, often descending on the peduncle, closely imbricate, outer shorter and broader than inner, glossy, golden brown, inner lemon-yellow sometimes washed brown outside, much exceeding the flowers, acute or obtuse. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers 102�209, (0�2�) 14�38 female, 80�183 homogamous. Achenes 1.25 mm, narrowly cylindric, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, tips barbellate, bases not cohering.


Flowers between October and April.


In the Cape, Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal, found from near sea level to c. 2 500 m; in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and northwards, confined to the mountains. Grows in grassland or sometimes in shrub communities in the Cape, and will invade bare or disturbed areas.

Ranges from Katanga (Zaire), Tanzania, Malawi and the E. highlands of Zimbabwe to the E. highlands of the Mpumalanga, NE. Free State, Lesotho, KwaZulu-Natal, Transkei and E. and S. Cape as far west as Garcia's Pass between Riversdale and Ladismith.


Grassland, Savanna, Thicket and Fynbos Biomes.



Helichrysum herbaceum (Andr.) Sweet, Hort. Brit. 1: 223 (1827); Hilliard & Burtt in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 32: 351 (1973); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 223 (1978).



From the Cape, cult. George Hibbert, no specimen preserved.



Xeranthemum herbaceum Andr., Bot. Rep. 7, t. 487 (1807).

Helichrysum splendens Sims in Curtis's Bot. Mag. t. 1773 (1816). Type: From the Cape, cult. George Hibbert.

H. squamosum sensu Thunb., Fl. Cap. 661 (1823), excl. syn.; Less., Syn. Comp. 286 (1832) p.p.; DC., Prodr. 6: 185 (1838) p.p.; Harv. in F.C. 3: 233 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 332 (1910), non (Jacq.) Thunb.

H. monocephalum Bak. in Kew Bull. 1898: 149 (1898). Types: Malawi, S. Nyika Mtns, Whyte s.n. (K); between Kondowe and Karonga, Whyte s.n. (K).



Barker 557 (NBG); Codd 2490 (NU; PRE); Hilliard & Burtt 7841 (E; K; MO; NU; S); Wright 390 (E; K; M; NH; NU).