Family: Asphodelaceae (asphodel family)
A soft, shrub, which grows 0.5m – 1m x 1m. The dense, aromatic foliage consists of roundish leaves which are covered with silver-grey hairs. Tiny creamy-white flowers make up abundant flower heads on long stalks which add to the decorative effect of this plant in midsummer (December and January).
Helichrysum petiolare occurs in the drier inland parts, sheltered slopes and forest margins of the Western Cape (Cederburg and Jonkershoek Mountains), Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal.
Ailments such as coughs, colds and infections are treated with this popular medicinal plant. The leaves are used by Rastafarians to make an infusion to treat asthma, chest problems and high blood pressure. The smoke of the burning leaves is inhaled as a pain reliever. The leaves are also widely used on wounds to prevent infection.
This plant can be propagated from cuttings or from seed sown in autumn (March). It should be planted in full sun in well-drained soil. This decorative plant spreads rapidly and should be cut back occasionally.
It does well in semi-shade. It is short lived and needs replacing every 2 years.