Common names:

Cape Gold, Geel Sewejaartjie(A), Phefo-ea-loti, Toane-moru (SS)

Origin of name:

splendidum = splendid; shining

Diagnostic characters:

Bright yellow bracts
Compact inflorescence
Linear leaves with parallel veins
Medium sized heads


Virgate shrub up to 1.5 m tall, or rarely sprawling, branches thinly grey-woolly, closely leafy, older parts glabrescent, rough with leaf scars. Leaves 10�30 (�40) x 1�2 (�6) mm, linear, linear-oblong or linear-lanceolate, apex acute or subacute, mucronate, base broad, half-clasping, margins commonly revolute, upper surface thickly or thinly greyish-white woolly or glabrous or nearly so, lower surface greyish-white woolly. Heads heterogamous, hemispherical, 4�5 mm long, 5�8 mm across the radiating bracts, bases woolly, many in congested or open corymbose panicles terminating long leafy branches. Involucral bracts in c. 5 series, graded, loosely imbricate, inner about equaling or slightly exceeding flowers, tips minutely radiating, bright canary-yellow, rarely orange, glossy. Receptacle very shortly honeycombed. Flowers 47�105, 8�14 female, 39�84 homogamous, yellow. Achenes 0.75 mm long, with duplex hairs. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases cohering by patent cilia.


Flowering between October and January.


Favours rocky places, on forest margins, in stream gullies, and on mountain tops. Widely distributed on the mountains from Ethiopia and the high mountains of East Africa and Malawi to Zimbabwe, the highlands of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Swaziland, the Midlands and Uplands of KwaZulu-Natal, the mountainous NE. Free State, Lesotho and Transkei, and the Cape mountains from the Witteberg and Cape Drakensberg, the Stormberg and Sneeuberg, Great Winterberg and Amatola Mountains to the Swartberg near Oudtshoorn and George.

Fynbos, Grassland and Savanna Biomes.




Helichrysum splendidum (Thunb.) Less., Syn. Comp. 286 (1832); DC., Prodr. 6: 185 (1838); Harv. in F.C. 3: 234 (1865) excl. var. montanum (DC.) Harv.; Moeser in Bot. Jb. 44: 284 (1910) excl. var. montanum (DC.) Harv.; Hedberg, Afroalpine Vascular Plants, Symb. Bot. Ups. 15: 204 and 342 (1957); Compton, Fl. Swaziland 635 (1976); Hilliard, Compositae in Natal 200 (1977).



Cape of Good Hope, Thunberg (sheet 19257, UPS, holo. ).



Gnaphalium splendidum Thunb., Prodr. 149 (1800), Fl. Cap. 648 (1823).

G. strictum Lam., Encycl. 2: 747 (1788). Helichrysum strictum (Lam.) Druce in Rep. bot. Soc. Exch. Club Br. Isl. 1916: 626 (1917), non H. strictum Moench (1794). Type: Cape of Good Hope (P-Lam).

Helichrysum xanthinum DC., Prodr. 6: 185 (1838). H. splendidum var. xanthinum (DC.) Harv. in F.C. 3: 234 (1865). Gnaphalium xanthinum (DC.) Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 171 (1845). Type: Cape, between the Storm- and Witteberg, Dr�ge 5745 (G-DC, holo.).

G. abyssinicum Sch. Bip. in Bot. Ztg 3: 174 (1845). Helichrysum abyssinicum (Sch. Bip.) A. Rich., Tent. Fl. Abyss. 423 (1848); Oliv. & Hiern in F.T.A. 3: 351 (1877). Type: Ethiopia, Mt Kubbi, 2 450 m, 26 June 1837, Schimper I: 127 (P, holo.; BM; G; K; S, iso.).

H. hendersonae S. Moore in J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 37: 316. (1906). Type: Nyasaland [Malawi], Nyika Plateau, 2 150�2 400 m, Henderson (BM, holo.).

H. acrobates Bullock in Kew Bull. 1933: 149 (1933). Type: Tanganyika [Tanzania], Hanang, summit, 3 400 m, B. D. Burtt 2279 (K, holo.).



Codd 1965 (NU; PRE); Compton 26097 (NBG); Hilliard & Burtt 7067 (E; K; MO; NU; PRE; S); Hoener 1994 (E; NU); Wright 782 (E; K; NH; NU; S).