Origin of name:

marmaro = marble
lepis = scales

Diagnostic characters:

Very small heads
Branched inflorescence
White / pink bracts
Sparsely leafy


Annual herb with a woody taproot, stems mostly 70�30 mm long, erect or spreading, subsimple or well-branched from the base, thinly white-woolly, leafy. Leaves very variable in size, lowermost up to 50 x 12 mm, upper mostly c. 10�15 x 2�5 mm, spathulate or oblong-spathulate to linear, base narrowed, apex subacute, mucronate, both surfaces greyish-white woolly. Heads homogamous or very rarely heterogamous, cylindric-campanulate, c. 3 x 2 mm, few to many on short stalks crowded at the branch tips. Involucral bracts in 5�6 series, campanulate, loosely imbricate, outer short, pellucid, acute, pale brown or occasionally reddish, inner longer, sub-equal, about equaling flowers, tips opaque milk-white, sometimes suffused pink, or crimson above the stereome, or rarely creamy, very obtuse, crisped, minutely radiating. Receptacle smooth or nearly so. Flowers 14�27, occasionally 1 or 2 female. Achenes 0.75 mm long, usually with myxogenic duplex hairs or occasionally glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases cohering lightly by patent cilia.

Flowering mainly in September and October.


Grows in Sandveld. Endemic to Namaqualand and the W. Cape, from about the Orange River south to Heeren Logement, N. of Clanwilliam.

Succulent Karoo Biome.


Closely resembles H. indicum, but distinguished by the heads on shorter stalks and therefore borne in more congested clusters than in H. indicum, in the shape of the involucre, campanulate in H. marmarolepis, cylindric-campanulate in H. indicum, and in the involucral bracts, less woolly on the backs than in H. indicum, and more loosely imbricate (hence the shape of the head).

Apparently more northerly in its distribution than H. indicum, which has not been recorded north of Clanwilliam and Lambert's Bay.




Helichrysum marmarolepis S. Moore in J. Bot., Lond. 37: 370 (1890); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 305 (1910).



Namaqualand, Scully 219 (BM, holo.; K, iso.).






Bolus 9562 (BOL, PRE); Nordenstam & Lundgren 1647 (E; S); Pillans 18069 (BOL); Schlechter 8352 (BOL); Steyn 451 (NBG).