Origin of name:
refractum = bent sharply back, or broken off; referring to the leaves, which become more or less reflexed with age.
White-woolly leaves bent at an angle downwardsUpper leaves overshooting the inflorescence
Shrubby, much-branched perennial, either sprawling or forming a dense rounded bush or mat, main stems 3-5 mm diam., branches up to 450 mm long, old parts becoming nude, young branches grey-woolly-felted, closely leafy throughout. Leaves spreading, eventually reflexed, 4-10 x 1 mm, linear-lanceolate, apex obtuse, base slightly broadened, half-clasping, margins strongly revolute, upper surface thinly woolly, lower surface scarcely visible, greyish-white woolly-felted. Heads homogamous, campanulate, c. 4 x 3 mm, c. 10-15 in dense glomerules 10 mm across at the branch tips, soon overtopped by young growth. Involucral bracts in c. 5 series, soon caducous, imbricate, graded, outermost reduced, acute, webbed together and to adjoining heads, innermost about equaling flowers, not radiating, glabrous, very obtuse, erose, somewhat concave, translucent, pale golden-brown. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers c. 15-23. Achenes not seen, ovaries with myxogenic duplex hairs. Pappus bristles very many, scabrid, bases cohering lightly by patent cilia.
Flowering in September; also recorded in March & April.
Recorded only from the Eastern Cape, in Albany, Port Elizabeth and Alexandria districts, in shrub communities and on inland sand dunes. Also forms a carpet near Addo, on inland sand dunes around vlei where it is wet for part of year.
Helichrysum refractum Hilliard in Flora of southern Africa 33,7 (2): 133 (1983).
Cape, Alexandria distr. (3325 BD), Olifantskop Pass, N. side, c. 2 400 ft, False Fynbos, rare by roadside, dense hemispherical bush, 8 ix 1960, Acocks 21419 (PRE, holo.).
Johnson 1307 (PRE); Rogers 3285 (Z); Noel, s.n., RUH 7743 (BOL); Rogers 181 (K; BOL 10639 is almost certainly the same collection)