Origin of name:

petraeum = rock loving

Diagnostic characters:

Flimsy herbaceous plant
Large solitary heads
White / maroon bracts


Perennial herb, stock woody, crowned with several leaf rosettes, flowering stems lateral, decumbent, up to 450 mm long, loosely branched, loosely woolly, leafy. Radical leaves c. 30�50 x 2�4 mm, linear or linear-lanceolate, apex acute or subacute, mucronate, base broad, papery, clasping, purplish when young, both surfaces grey-woolly; cauline leaves c. 10�20 x 2�3 mm, oblong-lanceolate, acute, mucronate, base slightly narrowed, half-clasping, both surfaces loosely woolly, glandular-setose, wool glabrescent. Heads heterogamous, campanulate, 10 mm long, about twice that across the radiating bracts, solitary at the branch tips, the whole forming a very open corymbose panicle. Involucral bracts in c. 10 series, loosely imbricate, much exceeding the flowers, glossy, acute, white, tipped crimson. Flowers c. 120�230, 18�32 female, 118�195 homogamous, yellow, sometimes tipped crimson. Achenes not seen, ovaries with myxogenic duplex hairs. Pappus bristles several, barbellate above, nude below, bases not cohering.


Flowering in March and April.


Grows around the edges and in the crevices of rock sheets in grassland. Recorded from Mbabane district in Swaziland, Nkandla, Mpendhle and Richmond districts in KwaZulu-Natal.

Grassland and Savanna Biomes.


Easily confused with H. adenocarpum, but readily distinguished by its linear radical leaves and small heads.




Helichrysum petraeum Hilliard in Notes R. bot. Gdn Edinb. 40: 263 (1982).



KwaZulu-Natal, Richmond distr., ridge leading to Peak of Byrne, c. 1 525 m, 29 iv 1976, Hilliard 8092 (NU, holo.; E; K; M; MO; PRE; S, iso.).






Compton 25862 (M; PRE); Galpin 11939 (BOL; PRE); Stewart 2056 (E; K; MO; NU); Wood 9923 (BOL).