Very variable in leaf shape, width and indumentum, which shows no clear geographical partitioning. In the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg for instance, specimens with narrow glabrous leaves and wide-spreading inflorescences are common in grassland and stabilized boulder beds, while on moist rocky grass slopes, plants may have leaves white-tomentose below and the radical ones more disticntly petiolate than those of the glabrous-leaved plants and the inflorescence may be more contracted. These are possibly local ecological races: a thorough field study of the whole complex is needed, a formidable task. Narrow-leaved specimens with only 3 main veins in the radical leaves are easily confused with H. miconiifolium, but can usually be distinguished by the stems being only distantly bracteate above. However, some specimes may be difficult to place, and it is not improbable that crossing takes place.
Fig. 88 (page 421), fig. 86/1 (page 406).
Herb with annual stems from a perennial rootstock; rootstock stout and woody, crowned with old fibrous leaf-bases which are sparsely to densely woolly, the flowering stems solitary to many, simple, 10–80(–100) cm high, whitish or yellowish woolly, sometimes leafy at the base only, in our area usually also with some cauline leaves; flowering stems sometimes developing before the radical leaves become apparent.
Leaves spreading or ascending, dark or pale green above, pale grey or whitish beneath, the radical ones forming a loose rosette, (narrowly) elliptic to almost round, sessile or with a long pseudopetiole up to 20 cm long, blade 5–15(–34) cm long, 1–4(–8) cm wide, proximally pseudopetiolate or narrowing to a clasping base, shortly decurrent, margins entire, apex obtuse and mucronate to acuminate, glabrous to thinly woolly or long-pubescent with coarse hairs or scabridulous above, white-felted beneath, strongly 3–9-nerved; the cauline leaves progressively narrower and smaller.
Capitula homogamous, 4–8 mm long, in cymes united in rounded or corymbose clusters 1.5–15 cm across, on long leafless stalks with white wool mixed with multicellular brown hairs; stalks of individual capitula 2–4 mm long; phyllaries 3–6-seriate, pellucid, yellow, pale brown, grey-green or green with brown flecks, subequal or the outermost smallest, 1.5–6 mm long, base woolly, apex obtuse, stereome fenestrated or not, rarely distally ray-like; receptacle fimbrillate.
Florets yellow or orange, 18–70, hermaphrodite (but see note under var. nudifolium), tube (narrowly) infundibuliform, 2–4.3 mm long, lobes 0.4–0.7 mm long, glandular (but not often in our area), anthers 1.2–2 mm long, style 2.9–4.8 mm long.
Achenes cylindrical, 0.5–1.5 mm long, glabrous; pappus of many bristles, 2.8–5 mm long, lightly coherent by their bases, barbellate, caducous in groups.
Perennial herb, up to 1.5 m high. Radical leaves up to 600 x 130 mm, linear-lanceolate, elliptic to ovate, petiolate, margins sometimes undulate, upper surface scabrid, lower scabrid, cobwebby or thinly to thickly white-woolly; cauline leaves similar, smaller, sessile. Heads narrowly campanulate, many in large corymbose panicle. Flowers with involucral bracts pale or lemon-yellow, outer sometimes palest brown.
Perennial herb spreading by stout underground runners, flowering stems solitary, simple, up to ±1.5 m tall, leafy below, pedunculoid upwards, thinly woolly. Radical leaves up to 600 x 130 mm, but often only half that or less, linear-lanceolate, elliptic to ovate, more or less abruptly, or sometimes gradually, contracted to a narrow or broad and then winged, petiole-like base, apex acute, margins sometimes undulate, upper surface scabrid, lower scabrid, cobwebby or thinly to thickly white-woolly, (3-)5(-7)-nerved, nerves strongly raised below, linked by netted veins; cauline leaves similar, sessile, stem-clasping, lower ones particularly sometimes strongly decurrent, becoming smaller upwards and rapidly passing into distant bracts. Heads homogamous, narrowly campanulate, ±4-5 x 2.5-3 mm, very many in a large corymbose panicle. Involucral bracts in ±6 series, closely imbricate, woolly at base, obtuse, pellucid or subopaque, pale or lemon-yellow, outer sometimes palest brown, equalling the flowers, not radiating. Receptacle with fimbrils at least equalling ovaries. Flowers 16-32. Achenes 1 mm long, glabrous. Pappus bristles many, equalling corolla, scabrid, bases lightly fused and also cohering by patent cilia.
Subshrub with erect, peduncle-like stem to 1.5 m from a woody rootstock, thinly woolly above. Leaves mostly radical, oblanceolate, glabrescent but margins and veins roughly hairy, 3-7-net-veined from base. Flower heads discoid, many in a branched corymb, campanulate, pale yellow or brownish, ± 4-5 x 3 mm, florets 15-30, ovary glabrous.
Widely distributed from W. Africa to Yemen and Ethiopia, thence south through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the eastern half of S. Africa to the Cape Peninsula. Also in the Angolan highlands.