Acaena buchananii


Acaena: From the Greek 'akanthos' thorn, referring to the spiny calyx that many species have
buchananii: Named after John Buchanan (13 October 1819-1898) who was a New Zealand botanist and scientific artist and fellow of the Linnean Society.

Common Name(s)

Bidibid, piripiri

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Gradual Decline


2012 - DP
2009 - DP


Acaena buchananii Hook.f.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Acaena buchananii var. picta Allan, A. buchananii var. inermis Bitter, A. depressa Kirk


Eastern South Island from Marlborough to Otago. Lowland to montane short dry tussockland and turf, mainly in inland basins. In the drier parts of Central Otago it can be locally common especially in closely grazed non-improved pasture.


Montane riverbeds and tussock grassland.


Leaves milky green or grey, lacking pattern of darker veins; heads unstalked; fruits c. 10 per head; fruit spines with soft hairs bent backwards at tip.

Similar Taxa

Perhaps closest to A. tesca B.Macmillan from which it differs by its more compact growth form, with densely tufted leafy stems, pale milky green or grey foliage, by the almost imbricate 5-6 leaflet pairs, and by the compressed capitula with the yellow spines held erect. The status of A. buchananii var. picta (grey leaves and red spines) needs further study.


Flowers in December

Flower Colours

Red / Pink



Propagation Technique

Very easy from rooted pieces.


Habitat destruction through land development such as cultivation, oversowing, irrigation, orchard and vineyard establishment.

Chromosome No.

2n = c.42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Spiny hypanthia are dispersed by attaching to fur, feathers and clothing and possibly also dispersed by wind and granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).



Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 August 2003.

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

This page last updated on 19 Dec 2014