The genus Helichrysum /hɛlɪˈkraɪsəm/ consists of an estimated 600 species of flowering plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The type species is Helichrysum orientale. The name is derived from the Greek words ἑλίσσω (helisso, to turn around) and χρῡσός (chrysos, gold).
It occurs in Africa (with 244 species in South Africa), Madagascar, Australasia and Eurasia. The plants may be annuals, herbaceous perennials or shrubs, growing to a height of 60–90 cm (24–35 inches). The genus was a wastebasket taxon, and many of its members have been reclassified in smaller genera, most notably the Everlastings, now in the genus Xerochrysum.
Their leaves are oblong to lanceolate. They are flat and pubescent on both sides. The bristles of the pappus are scabrous, barbellate, or plumose.
The receptacle (base of the flower head) is often smooth, with a fringed margin, or honey-combed, and resemble daisies. They may be in almost all colors, except blue. There are many capitula and generally flat-topped corymbs or panicles. The corolla lobes show glandular hairs at the abaxial surface.
Helichrysum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the bucculaticid leaf-miners Bucculatrix gnaphaliella (which feeds exclusively on Helichrysum arenarium) and Bucculatrix helichrysella (feeds exclusively on H. italicum) and the Coleophora case-bearers C. caelebipennella, C. gnaphalii (feeds exclusively on H arenarium) and C. helichrysiella (feeds exclusively on H. italicum).