Origin of name:

infaustus /-a/-um = unfortunate

Diagnostic characters:

Yellow bracts
Compact inflorescences on short stalk
Leaves 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.


Grassland Biome.


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).