Origin of name:

sphaeroideus = globose with somewhat compressed or flattened poles

Diagnostic characters:

Small compact flower head
White bracts


Straggling subshrub perhaps up to 600 mm tall, branching from the base, branches often tangled, long, slender, thinly white-woolly, leafy, becoming distantly so and pedunculoid below the compound inflorescence. Leaves 7�40 x 4�15 mm, lower with an elliptic to subrotund, acute to obtuse, mucronate blade, narrowed below and petiole-like, base expanded, ear-clasping, petiole becoming less pronounced upwards, uppermost leaves oblong, sessile, passing into distant, lanceolate-acuminate bracts, margins of all minutely crisped, upper surface coarsely hairy, lightly cobwebby as well, at least initially, lower surface thinly white-woolly-felted. Heads homogamous, cylindric-campanulate, 3�4 x 2�4 mm, few to many in terminal congested clusters 10�20 mm across, becoming somewhat lax with age. Involucral bracts in 4�5 series, more or less graded, outermost pellucid, tinged palest brown, glabrous or thinly cobwebby, inner with tips opaque milk-white, sometimes reddish above the stereome, or rarely the whole tip suffused pink, obtuse, or subacute, somewhat crisped, minutely radiating. Receptacle shortly honeycombed. Flowers 8�31. Achenes 0.75 mm long, � cylindric, with peculiar thickened hairs, not myxogenic. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases cohering strongly by patent cilia.


Flowering between September and February, but mainly in December and January.


Favours damp sheltered rocky places, often on steep slopes in gullies or ravines. On the Cape mountains from about Tulbagh, Paarl and Worcester to the Langeberg between Swellendam and Riversdale, between 900 and 1 600 m above sea level.

Fynbos Biome.


Both Burchell and Dr�ge collected H. sphaeroideum, but De Candolle confused the Burchell specimen he saw (7296, G-DC, K, from a mountain near Swellendam) with H. serpyllifolium var. polifolium (that is, Plecostachys polifolia). The Dr�ge specimen (at K), distributed as H. serypyllifolium var. polifotium a (from Du Toil's Kloof) is partly H. sphaeroideum, partly Plecostachys polifolia.




Helichrysum sphaeroideum Moeser in Dot. Jb. 44: 306 (1910).



Western Cape, Langeberg near Zuurbrak, Schlechter 2047 (Z, holo.; BM; G; PRE; S, iso.).






Esterhuysen 4025 (BOL; K; NBG; PRE), 22698 (BOL; K; PRE), 22532 (BOL; K; PRE), 11324 (BOL; K; NBG; PRE; SAM).