Origin of name:infaustus /-a/-um = unfortunate
Yellow bractsCompact inflorescences on short stalkLeaves bi-coloured (white below)Leaf margins inrolled Leaves needle-like
A dwarf shrublet forming mats or cushions up to c. 200 mm high, old branches woody, decumbent, nude, rooting, branchlets closely grey-woolly, densely leafy, becoming nude and remotely leafy upwards. Leaves up to 12 x 1.5 mm, smaller and more distant upwards, linear, apex obtuse, apiculate, base broad, half-clasping, margins strongly revolute, upper surface thinly grey-woolly, lower densely white-woolly. Heads homogamous, c. 3 x 1 mm, cylindric, many in compact cymose clusters 10�15 mm across at the branch tips. Involucral bracts in 2�4 series, graded, closely imbricate, outer tipped pale brown, inner bright canary-yellow, about equaling flowers, not radiating. Receptacle with pit margins slightly produced. Flowers 2�5, yellow. Achenes 0.75 mm, with duplex hairs. Pappus wanting.
Flowering from January to April.
Forms low, spreading cushions or mats over bare rock sheets and bare, eroded or sparsely-grassed areas. Recorded along the low Drakensberg on the Mpumalanga-KwaZulu-Natal border and the nearby Skurweberg in Vryheid district, thence southwards along the escarpment and nearby mountains in both KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State to Lesotho as far south as Roma in the west and Sehlabathebe in the east, and Underberg district in KwaZulu-Natal.
Notes:Distinguished from H. griseolanatum by its differently shaped leaves, and from H. cymosum subsp. calvum, by its woolly obtuse leaves with strongly revolute margins and homogamous heads.
Helichrysum infaustum Wood & Evans in J. Bot., Lond. 35: 351 (1897); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 245 (1910), excl. var. discolor; Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 152 (1977).
KwaZulu-Natal, near Van Reenen's Pass, Drakensberg, 5 000�6 000 ft., Wood 6973 (NH, holo.; BOL; E, iso.).
Humea infausta (Wood & Evans) S. Moore in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 40: 112 (1911). Calomeria infausta (Wood & Evans) Heine in Adansonia 7: 138 (1967).
Devenish. 1697 (E; K; MO; NU; PRE; S); Hilliard & Burtt 8916 (E; K; MO; NU; S); Scheepers1846 (PRE).