Centipeda minima subsp. minima


Centipeda: From the Greek word for one hundred feet
minima: Very small

Common Name(s)

sneezeweed, centipeda

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Critical


2012 - EF, SO
2009 - SO, EF


Centipeda minima (L.) A.Braun et Asch. subsp. minima



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites


Myriogyne minuta (G.Forst.) Less., Cotula minuta G.Forst, Centipeda orbicularis Lour.,


Indigenous. New Zealand: Kermadecs (Raoul Island), and North Island. The majority of historic records unsupported by herbarium specimens have to be regarded as unreliable due to confusion with three other species recently recognised in New Zealand, the endemic C. aotearoana, and indigenous C. cunninghamii and C. elatinoides. Recent confirmed records of C. minima have come recently from Raoul Island (May 2011) and from the North Island, from about the Waikato and Bay of Plenty north. Present also in Australia, India, Russia, China, Japan, Malesia and on some Pacific Islands.


Wet, or partially dried out lake, pond and stream margins. Often in coastal areas. This species requires open sparsely vegetated ground It cannot tolerate any competition, so grows in the most open sites it can find (wet or dry). The largest recently discovered populations in New Zealand come from rubbish dumps, poorly draining foot paths, and muddy ground associated with poorly drained airstrips.


Aromatic, usually prostrate, annual, bright green, spreading herb up to 250 mm diam and 200 mm high. Branches numerous, spreading, frequently rooting from lower leaf nodes, glabrescent or finely covered in cottony, wispy hairs. Leaves spathulate, rhomboidal 3-27 mm x 1.5-11 mm, light green to dark green, never glaucescent, usually glabrescent sometimes cottony hairy, lamina margin serrated with 1-4 pairs of teeth, these usually confined to the upper third of lamina. Inflorescence a solitary, sessile to subsessile, axillary , leaf opposed capitulum. Capitula hemispherical to subglobular, 1.5-5 mm diam., greenish-yellow; involucral bracts obovate, 1-1.6 mm, receptacle convex; corolla of female flowers 0.1-0.25 mm, bisexual florets 0.3-0.4 mm. Fruiting heads disarticulating at maturity. Cypselas narrowly obcuneate, 0.6-1.5 mm, truncate or obtuse, with 4-8 ribs bearing short antrorse bristles, uniting as a pale, pithy apical cap in distal quarter.

Similar Taxa

The three other indigenous species Centipeda aotearoana, C. cunninghamii, and C. elatinoides are much larger usually perennial plants. From these C. minima subsp. minima is distinguished by its small size, usually annual habit, bright green, kite-shaped leaves that are < 10 mm long and usually less than 3 x times as wide, and which are only sparingly (though deeply) toothed toward the leaf apex.


(August-) December (-May)

Flower Colours



(August-) December (-May)

Propagation Technique

A strict annual that is easily grown from fresh seed and rooted pieces. Once established it regularly self-sows in suitable habitats and can at times become invasive. It makes an ideal semi-permanent ground cover, for poorly draining lawns, where in ideal conditions the plants rapid growth and frequent turn over can provide an excellent, pleasantly fragrant alternative to lawn grasses, without the need for mowing. For a more permanent cover try mixing it in with Cotula (Leptinella spp.).


The major threats come from aggressive wetland weeds, such as Mercer grass (Paspalum distichum), which rapidly smothers the open muddy ground this species favours. This species is weedy and opportunistic and so can potentially be found anywhere there is suitably open, muddy, ground.

Chromosome No.

2n = 20

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Cypselae dispersed by wind, attachment and granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).




Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 5 May 2005. Description adapted from Walsh (2001).

References and further reading

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

Walsh, N. G. 2001: A revision of Centipeda (Asteraceae). Muelleria 15: 33-64.

This page last updated on 2 Jun 2014