Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “Weekly Plant of Interest”. We’ll be looking at a relatively conspicuous plant that many of you would have seen if you’ve recently found yourself walking our trails.
Helichrysum callicomum (known as motoantoanyane in sisotho – English common name not available), is a medium sized perennial tufted herb, growing up to 400 mm tall.Kalli is Greek for beautiful, kome is the Greek word for hair and likely refers to the numerous flowering branches and golden inflorescences resembling a beautiful hairdo. This plant grows on river flats, gravelly banks, and overgrazed areas at 1800-2400 m A.S.L., and grows from the Eastern Cape to Zimbabwe.
H.callicomum has thin, flexible and tufted woody stems. The stems range between a grey-white and the leaves are densely tufted. The leaves are 25 long by 6 mm wide, are blunt tipped, felted and a light grey. The inflorescense is is usually 60-80 mm in diameter and is roughly rounded. The individual flowerheads are 4 mm long by 1 mm wide and bracts are close to straw coloured. Flowering occurs from Feb – May.
Used traditionally as a protective charm. Indicator of veld condition and recent disturbances as it tends to proliferate in overgrazed areas.
Least concern (CITES), as it proliferates in disturbed veld.