Diagnostic characters:

Grey hairy leaves with distinct veins on lower surface
Stems very densely leafy
Leaves broad-based, overlapping
Yellow bracts
Compact flower heads on very short stalks


Perennial herb, rootstock slender, creeping, branching, stems slender, tufted, simple or branching mostly near the base, erect to c. 400 mm, thinly grey woolly-felted, closely leafy. Leaves imbricate, up to c. 17 x 5 mm, scarcely decreasing in size upwards, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, apex acuminate, base cordate-clasping, shortly decurrent, both surfaces grey woolly-felted. Heads heterogamous, oblong-campanulate, c. 3-4 x 2-3 mm, many in compact corymbose panicles up to c. 40 mm across terminating the branches. Involucral bracts in c. 6 series, graded, closely imbricate, inner about equaling flowers, tips opaque, pale yellow or rarely whitish, crisped, more or less squarrose. Receptacle with fimbrils exceeding the ovaries. Flowers 15-27, 5-9 female, 10-18 homogamous. Achenes less than 0.5 mm long, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases cohering lightly by patent cilia.

Flowering mainly between January and April.


Grows in large tangled clumps, on escarp, particularly near forest margins. Ranges from Estcourt and Pietermaritzburg districts in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands south through East Griqualand and the Transkei to the Eastern Cape, from the mountainous country about Dordrecht south to the Great Winterberg, Katberg, Amatola Mountains, Stutterheim and Komgha, then a disjunction to George on the South Cape coast.

Grassland, Savanna and Thicket Biomes.



Helichrysum simillimum DC., Prodr. 6: 203 (1838); Harv. in F.C. 3: 246 (1865); Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 281 (1910); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 196 (1977).



Lectotype: Cape, Kaffraria, Katberg, Ecklon 1893 (G-DC, holo.; S, iso.).



Gnaphalium simillimum (DC.) Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 172 (1845).



Acocks 13455 (PRE); Flanagan 514 (SAM); Hilliard & Burtt 8032 (E; K; MO; NU; S); Tyson 2731 (SAM).