Origin of name:

marlothianum refers to the collector of the type specimen, H.W.R. Marloth (1855�1931), a German-born pharmacist who came to South Africa in 1883 and established himself as a remarkable botanist.

Diagnostic characters:

White bracts
Solitary or up to 3 heads grouped together
Herbaceous woolly plant


Bushy annual herb with a woody taproot, profusely branched from the base, stems up to 120 mm long, apparently decumbent then erect, much branched, cobwebby, leafy. Leaves up to 12 (�20) x 6 (�8) mm, elliptic, subacute, much narrowed to a petiole-like base, thickly greyish-white woolly. Heads homogamous, campanulate, 4�6 x 3 mm, solitary, or 2�3 at the tips of the branches and dwarf axillary branchlets, closely enveloped by surrounding leaves webbed together with wool. Involucral bracts in c. 3�5 series, subequal, loosely imbricate, tips acute to subacuminate, opaque milk-white, sometimes reddish above the stereome, exceeding the flowers, radiating. Receptacle very shortly honeycombed. Flowers 18�39, yellow, tipped reddish. Achenes 1 mm long, elliptic in outline, closely ribbed, with myxogenic duplex hairs. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases nude, not cohering.

Flowering recorded in January, April and July.


Growing in sandy watercourses. Known only from a few collections, in the Namib desert, between the Kuiseb and Swartkop Rivers.

Desert Biome.


Sometimes confused with H. herniarioides but more closely branched than that species with woollier leaves and heads borne singly or 2�3 together at the branch tips and on short axillary shoots. Also allied to H. roseo-niveum from which it is distinguished by its smaller heads, and to H. gariepinum, which generally has more flowers in the head, a few of them female. Some specimens may be difficult to place; more collections and field studies are needed.




Helichrysum marlothianum O.Hoffm. in Bot. Jb. 10:275 (1889); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 304 (1910).



Namibia, Usakos, Hykamkab [Haigamkab], 400 m, April 1886, Marloth 1211 (BOL; K; NBG; PRE; SAM, iso.).






Fock 8395 (M; PRE); Galpin & Pearson 7666 (K; PRE; SAM); Marloth 1477 (PRE).