Origin of name:

longifolius / -a/ -um = with long leaves

Diagnostic characters:

Bright yellow bracts
Bicoloured leaves (white hairy below)
Large heads
Open branched inflorescence


Perennial herb, stock stout, woody, flowering stems several from the crown, simple, erect to c. 450 mm, thinly greyish-white felted, leafy throughout. Radical leaves rosetted, c. (70�) 100�250 x 7�20 (�40) mm, linear-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, apex more or less acute, often apiculate, base broad, clasping, upper surface cobwebby at first, generally glabrous or occasionally with scattered coarse hairs later, lower greyish-white felted, often silky; cauline leaves much smaller, diminishing in size upwards, lanceolate to linear- lanceolate, acute to acuminate, uppermost with a small scarious appendage, base half-clasping, very shortly decurrent, both surfaces cobwebby or thinly felted, upper at least usually glabrescent. Heads homogamous, campanulate, 7�9 (�11) mm long, several in a congested or open corymbose panicle. Involucral bracts in c. 6�8 series, more or less graded, loosely imbricate, inner exceeding flowers, radiating, glossy, bright yellow, all acute or subacute. Receptacle with fimbrils much exceeding the ovaries. Flowers 53�154, yellow. Achenes 1 mm long, barrel-shaped, obscurely 5-ribbed, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, about equaling the corolla, scabrid, tips barbellate, bases cohering strongly by patent cilia.


Flowers between July and February, but mainly in November, December and January.


Ranges from Ricatla (near Delagoa Bay) in Mozambique through KwaZulu-Natal and the Transkei to about East London in the E. Cape, in sandy grassland from near sea level to c. 900 m.

Grassland Biome.


H. longifolium is distinguished by its long and often relatively narrow leaves, glabrous above at maturity, woolly below, heads in an open panicle (though this is often congested initially), and glossy yellow acute involucral bracts. It is very closely allied to H. mixtum; see under that species.




Helichrysum longifolium DC., Prodr. 6: 198 (1838); Harv. in F.C. 3: 242 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 320 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 185 (1977).



KwaZulu-Natal, between the Umzimkulu River and Port Natal (Durban), Dr�ge 5024 (G-DC, holo.; B; BM; P; TCD, iso.).



Gnaphalium longifolium (DC.) Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 172 (1845), non Blume (1826).

G. caffrum O. Kuntze, Rev. Gen. 3,2: 151 (1898).



Hilliard & Burtt 5642 (E; K; NH; NU); Pooley 1937 (E; K; MO; NU; S); Strey 6836 (NU; PRE); Wood 11571 (PRE).