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Identifying Silkypuffs - Diastella

The genus Diastella can easily confused with the smaller Leucospermum species. Mat-like rarely grow taller than one meter. Their leaves are linear to oval, usually without teeth. Inflorescences are small, globose, terminal (or both terminal and axillary) capitula, 10-20 mm in diam.. One to three rows of papery or membranous bracts extend to or beyond the florets, enveloping the inflorescence at base. The perianth is 6-10 mm long, and subtended by a linear to filiform floral bract, covered with silky hairs. All four perianth segments are free almost to the base. Hypogynous scales are usually absent. Pollen presenter linear acute. Fruit is a typical Leucospermum fruit.


1. Hypogynous scales present, leaves usually with apical teeth, inflorescences both terminal and axillary, perianth segments unequal goto section HYPOGYNAE

1' Hypogynous scales absent, leaves simple without apical teeth, inflorescences exclusively terminal, perianth segments always equal goto section DIASTELLA

Section HYPOGYNAE: The Northern Silkypuffs

Northern Silkypuffs are the primitive Diastella species most resembling Leucospermum. They are characterized among Diastella chiefly by the presence of hypogynous scales.

Involucral bracts ovate, hairless with hairy margins, pink, turning brown and papery with age. .

Diastella myrtifolia TULBAGH SILKYPUFF
An erect to suberect shrub with matlike sprawling branches. Involucral bracts oblong-elliptic, green.

Section DIASTELLA: The Southern Silkypuffs

The Southern Silkypuffs differ from the Northern Silkypuffs in not having hypogynous scales. They are therefore probably unable to secrete nectar. They also differ more markedly from Leucospermum than do the Northern Silkypuffs in having only terminal inflorescences.

Diastella divaricata divaricata PENINSULA SILKYPUFF
A low sprawling shrub. Leaves oval to rounded, 2-10 mm long. Style hairy for 2 mm above the ovary.

Diastella divaricata montana MOUNTAIN SILKYPUFF
A low sprawling shrub. Leaves lanceolate to elliptic, 10-18 mm long. Style hairy for 5 mm above the ovary.

Diastella fraterna PALMIET SILKYPUFF
A low suberect shrublet 0.7 m tall and 1 m diam. Leaves lanceolate to elliptic, 1-4 mm wide. Involucral bracts drying to brown and papery with age. Inflorescences white to cream. .

Diastella thymelaeoides thymelaeoides KOGELBERG SILKYPUFF
Erect shrub. Leaves oval or rounded, 8-14 mm long, 4-9 mm wide. Inflorescence globular, 10-15 mm diam.. Involucral bracts clasping inflorescence base.

Diastella thymelaeoides meridiana HANGKLIP SILKYPUFF
Erect shrub, to 1 m tall. Leaves elliptic, 12-22 mm long, 4-9 mm wide. Inflorescence globular, 20 mm diam.. Involucral bracts projecting beyond perianth giving a rounded starlike outline to inflorescence.

Diastella proteoides FLATS SILKYPUFF
Stems hairy. Leaves linear, 5-15 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, current years leaves hairy. Involucral bracts hairy.

Stems not hairy. Leaves hairless, needle-like. Inflorescence overtopped by leaves. Involucral bracts outer whorl hairless with hairy margins.

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