Origin of name:

versicolor = particoloured, with definite areas of different colours

Diagnostic characters:

Medium sized heads
Branched inflorescence
Yellowish bracts
Scruffy plant


Annual herb, stems several from the base, up to 300 mm long, erect or decumbent, simple or sparingly branched, white-woolly, leafy. Leaves mostly 15�40 x 4�12 mm, diminishing upwards, oblong-lanceolate or oblanceolate becoming lanceolate upwards, apex subobtuse to acute, mucronate, base cordate-clasping, margins flat or crisped-undulate, both surfaces thinly greyish-white woolly. Heads heterogamous, campanulate, 3 x 2 mm, many in congested woolly clusters in compact corymbose panicles at the branch tips. Involucral bracts in c. 6 series, loosely imbricate, backs white woolly, outermost short, others subequal, about equaling flowers, tips semi-pellucid or opaque, very obtuse, crisped, bright yellow, minutely radiating. Receptacle scarcely honeycombed. Flowers 12�30, 3�7 female, 9�23 homogamous. Achenes c. 0.5 mm long, with myxogenic duplex hairs. Pappus bristles many, equaling corolla, scabrid, bases not cohering.


Flowering mostly in October and November, but as late as February.


The type reputedly came from Grahamstown, but all subsequent collections have been from the coast, often on the seashore or in dune scrub, from Knysna in the west to Port Alfred and the mouth of the Fish River in the east.

Fynbos and Thicket Biomes.


Although this species was first collected by Burchell in 1814 at Krakakamma, Port Elizabeth district, it has either passed as �H. rutilans' or remained unnamed. It is distinguished from H. moeserianum (=H. rutilans auctt.) by its perennial habit, leaves less narrowed to the base, and subtly different heads, the differences difficult to express, but clearly seen; measurable parameters are: stereome � 2mm long, not � 1 mm, in the outermost but one series of bracts (the outermost are reduced) and hermaphrodite flowers mostly 3�4 times as many as female, not mostly at least 5 times as many. Also, the two species are allopatric.




Helichrysum versicolor O. Hoffm. & Muschl. in Annln naturh. Mus. Wien 24: 317 (1910).



Albany distr., Grahamstown, Penther 1266 (W, holo.).






Burchell 4562 (K); MacOwan 1442 (BOL; BM; K; S); Taylor 4425 (PRE; STE); Wall 116 (S).