Leaves with petioles 2–14 mm. long; lamina flat or revolute, mostly 3–10(12) x 1.2–3(4) cm., larger in coppice growth, narrowly elliptic-oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic to narrowly oblong-elliptic, acute to rounded and distinctly mucronate at the apex, cuneate below, entire, slightly to strongly revolute, occasionally in obovate leaves ± strongly spinescent-denticulate, particularly towards the apex; upper surface thinly araneose, soon glabrescent and shiny dull-green with reticulate venation subprominent; lower surface greyish- or silvery-tomentellous with prominent veins.
Capitula few to many in short spikes, racemes or subglobose clusters; male synflorescences usually contracted into dense, stalked, axillary or terminal glomerules c. 1 cm. in diam., glomerules sometimes racemosely arranged on branchlets; female synflorescences composed of numerous, stalked, 2–6-capitulate clusters in leaf axils, or clusters racemosely arranged on numerous branchlets to c. 7 cm. long.
A shrub or small tree to 7(30) m. tall, deciduous in dry areas; bark dark-grey, finely fissured, flaking in strips; branches becoming dark-purplish, lenticellate and narrowly sulcate, at first greyish- or brown-tomentellous later glabrescent; leaves crowded at the ends of twigs.
Female capitula stalked, 5–6-flowered; involucres to c. 6 mm. long, cylindric-obconic; phyllaries increasing from c. 1 mm. long and ovate outside to c. 5 mm. long inside becoming oblong, tomentose, outer phyllaries not extending onto the capitulum stalk; corollas 4–6 mm. long, filiform, lobes erect up to c. 0.5 mm. long; achenes 3–4 mm. long, subcylindric, obscurely 6–8-ribbed, pubescent; pappus several-seriate, setae 4–5 mm. long ± terete, seta barbs ± equalling the seta axis in width.
Male capitula sessile or sometimes shortly stalked, 6–7-flowered; involucres to c. 3 mm. long, cyathiform; phyllaries increasing from c. 1 mm. long and ovate outside to c. 3 mm. long inside becoming oblong, tomentose; corollas creamy-white, 3.5–5.5 mm. long, narrowly funnel-shaped with lobes c. 2 mm. long and ± recurved; pappus sparse, setae 2–3 mm. long with barbs exceeding the seta axis in width.
Achenes in female columnar or flattened, slightly narrowed towards the base, 2.8–4 mm long, 5–8-ribbed, densely pubescent and glandular; pappus of pale tawny minutely barbellate setae, 4–6.5 mm long.
Evergreen shrub or slender erect tree 2–40 m tall, with ascending branches and rather light crown; trunk up to ± 60 cm in diameter, usually very fluted, eventually ± buttressed; bark light grey, longitudinally fissured, fibrous, peeling in long narrow shreds; young twigs densely shortly white-tomentose, glabrescent.
Leaves shortly petiolate; petiole 0.3–1 cm long; blade oblanceolate, obovate or elliptic, 3–12(–15) cm long, 1–3(–5.5) cm wide, base cuneate or rarely rounded, margins entire or sometimes remotely denticulate, apex acute to obtuse and shortly acuminate, mucronate, coriaceous, strongly discolorous, green and glabrous above, silvery white or grey with short dense persistent tomentum beneath.
Florets 3–9, long-exserted; corolla white; corolla tube of male florets broader than in female, 1.3–2 mm long, lobes 5, narrowly oblong, 2–3 mm long, recurved; corolla tube of female florets slender, cylindrical, shortly 2-lipped, 5-lobed, 3.5–6 mm long, lobes slender, lanceolate, ± 1 mm long.
Capitula subsessile, numerous in clusters on short side-branches or bracteate raceme-like axillary thyrses shorter than the leaves, the female shorter and with fewer capitula than the male; involucre ± cylindrical or campanulate, the male 2–5 mm long, the female 3–6 mm long; phyllaries 5–8, densely white-tomentose, in the female glabrescent with age, glabrous or subglabrous above, the inner much longer than the outer, the innermost 3–5 elliptic, acute, 2.5–6 mm long.
Evergreen or deciduous shrub or slender erect tree (2-)5-40 m tall, with ascending branches and rather light crown; trunk up to ± 60 cm in diam., usually very fluted, eventually ± buttressed; crown thin, confined to upper quarter of stem; bark light or dark grey, longitudinally fissured, fibrous, peeling in long narrow shreds; wood white, hard, without visible heartwood, rays or rings; branches porrect, not spreading; young twigs densely shortly white- or grey-tomentellous, glabrescent and becoming dark purplish, lenticellate and narrowly sulcate. Leaves crowded at the ends of twigs, coriaceous, shortly petiolate; blade (narrowly) obovate to elliptic or broadly so, 3-12(-15) x 1-3(-5.5) cm, base cuneate or rarely rounded, margins entire or sometimes remotely denticulate (sometimes spinescent in obovate leaves) and slightly to strongly revolute, apex acute to obtuse and shortly acutely acuminate, mucronate, strongly discolorous, green and araneose becoming glabrous adaxially, silvery white or grey with short dense persistent tomentum and glandular abaxially; secondary veins 8-15; petiole densely shortly white-tomentose, 0.2-1.4 cm long. Capitula numerous in axillary or terminal racemes or panicles 1.5-4 cm long. Male inflorescence with capitula sessile or shortly stalked (stalk to 2 mm), 3-5.5 mm high, in glomerules ± 1 cm in diam. and these in turn sometimes racemosely arranged; bracts small, narrow, acute, densely tomentose proximally; capitula with (4-)6-9(-12) florets; involucre ± cylindrical or campanulate, 2-4 mm long; phyllaries 5-8, densely white-tomentose, narrowly ovate to elliptic, acute, 1-5 x 1.5-3 mm; corolla tube 1.3-2 mm long, lobes narrowly oblong, 2-3 x 0.4-0.6 mm, glandular, with a distal tuft of hair, recurved, anthers 1.3-2.1 mm long, not or hardly tailed, completely exserted on filaments 0.3-1.3 mm long, style 3.7-7 mm long with linear obtuse branches, the distal mm with short trichomes abaxially; achene minute; pappus of few bristles, 2-3 mm long and subplumose. Female inflorescence with capitula 2-6 together in axillary clusters or sometimes in racemes to 7 cm long, the individual capitula stalked (stalk to 2 mm), 3-6-flowered, 8-11 mm high; bracts small, narrow, acute, densely tomentose proximally; involucre ± cylindrical or campanulate, 3-6 mm long; phyllaries 5-8, densely white-tomentose, glabrescent with age, narrowly ovate to elliptic, acute, 1-5.2 x 1.5-3 mm; corolla tube slender, cylindrical, 3.5-6.2 mm long, lobes slender, narrowly ovate, 0.5-1 mm long, style 5-7 mm long, the branches oblong-linear, acute, glabrous, recurved. Achenes columnar or flattened, 5-8-ribbed, slightly narrowed towards the base, densely pubescent and glandular, 2.8-4 mm long; pappus of many pale tawny minutely barbellate setae, 4-6.5 mm long, 2-seriate. Deciduous in dry areas, evergreen in wetter sites. In the southern part of the distribution area it remains much smaller (usually up to 7 m, rarely to 25 m), but in Kenya it is usually a tall tree.
Tree, 5-9 m high. Leaves grey- or white-felted below, oblanceolate to oblong-elliptic, side veins visible, mucronate, crowded at tips of twigs. Involucral bracts 3- or 4-seriate, densely albo-tomentose, not extending down peduncle. Flowers cream-white; June and September to November.
Dry evergreen and semi-deciduous forest, woodland and bushland on sandy or rocky soils; common in dry forest around Nairobi (Kenya), in sand forest in KwaZulu-Natal, in kloofs and gorges in Zimbabwe and northern South Africa.