Origin of name:

opacus = shady

Diagnostic characters:

White bracts
Large heads
Compact branched inflorescence


Perennial herb, roots fusiform, crown clad in loose brown wool, flowering stem up to 400 mm high, nearly always solitary, thinly greyish-white felted, remotely leafy. Leaves mostly radical, up to c. 150 x 12 mm, lanceolate, only slightly narrowed to the broad clasping base, markedly discolorous, green, often drying blackish, above with a few scattered hairs, white-felted below, striate from the strongly raised parallel veins, cauline leaves few, distant, much smaller than the radical, acuminate. Heads homogamous, campanulate, c. 5 mm long, double that across the fully radiating involucral bracts, many in a corymbose panicle. Involucral bracts in c. 8 series, inner subequal, loosely imbricate, much exceeding flowers, very acute, opaque, snow-white. Receptacle with fimbrils much exceeding ovaries. Flowers 23�28, yellow. Achenes 1 mm long, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases cohering strongly by patent cilia.

Flowering in December and January.


Grows on grassy mountain slopes. Ranges from Pilgrim's Rest and Dullstroom in Mpumalanga to Havelock, Pigg's Peak and Mbabane in Swaziland, thence to the low Drakensberg on the Mpumalanga-KwaZulu-Natal-Free State border, apparently with a disjunction to Mawahqua and Ngeli mountains in southernmost KwaZulu-Natal.

Grassland Biome.



Helichrysum opacum Klatt in Bull. Herbarium Boissier 4: 836 (1896); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 319 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 182 (1977).



Swaziland, Pigg's Peak, Galpin 1267 (Z, holo.; BOL; K; NH; PRE, iso.).






Galpin 13042 (PRE); Devenish 1609 (E; K; NU; S); Hilliard & Burtt 9441 (E; K; MO; NU; PRE; S).