Celmisia alpina


Celmisia: Apparently named after Kelmis, one of Idaean Dactyls, a group of skilled mythical beings associated with the Mother Goddess Rhea in Greek mythology. Kelmis, whose name means ‘casting’, was a blacksmith and childhood friend of Zeus, son of Rhea and later king of the gods. In Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, Kelmis is described as offending Zeus who turned him into adamant so he was as hard as a tempered blade
alpina: alpine

Common Name(s)

mountain daisy

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened


Celmisia alpina (Kirk) Cheeseman



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 - Composites


Celmisia longifolia var. alpina Kirk


Endemic. South and Stewart Islands: Widespread. Similar forms occur in the North Island.


montane to alpine. In mires and bogs and other similar poorly draining surfaces in herbfield, fell-field and subalpine shrubland.


Tufted herb arising from a usually, much divided and closely branched woody stock up to c.60 mm long, pseudo-stems up to c. 20 mm long, close-set. Leaves very narrow-linear, subcoriaceous; lamina ± 15-30 × (0•5)-0.75-1 mm; upper surface canaliculate, grey-green, ± glabrous; lower densely clad in appressed soft white tomentum, midrib evident; apex acute, often shortly apiculate; margins strongly recurved, entire, narrowed to glabrous, pale, thin sheath c.10 × 1 mm, with evident midrib. Scape 30-50 mm long, very slender, finely grooved, ± clad in deciduous floccose hairs; bracts almost filiform, ascending, up to 10 mm long. Capitula 15-20 mm diameter. Involucral bracts 2-seriate, scarious, midrib evident, margins sparingly hairy, tips acute, dark; outer series c.7 mm long, narrow-ovate; inner c.9 mm long, narrowly linear-subulate to narrow-lanceolate. Ray-florets ± 12 mm long, white, tube very slender, limb widening to apex; disk-florets ± 5 mm long, tubular to very narrowly funnelform, teeth narrow-triangular. Achenes narrow-cylindric, finely ribbed, c. 2.5-3.0 mm long, glabrous. Pappus-hairs white, slender, up to 5 mm long, very finely barbellate

Similar Taxa

Celmisia alpina is part of the C. gracilenta - C. graminifolia complex. This complex is in urgent need of revision. Allan (1961) evidently thought it most similar to C. graminifolia, from which he distinguished it by its much narrower leaves (dimensions given....not > c.1 mm wide cf. ...not < c.4 mm wide for C. graminifolia). In the field Celmisia alpina is chiefly recognised by its much smaller size and very narrow-linear leaves. Similar forms known as C. setacea Colenso (a name sometimes used by botanists) occur in the North Island (and probably the South Island too). They deserve further study.


November - December

Flower Colours



January - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and by the division of established plants. One of the few Celmisia that does well in cultivation. As with most Celmisia dislikes humidity and will not long tolerate drying out.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 216

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Pappate cypselae are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available.



Description adapted from Allan (1961)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Government Printer, Wellington.

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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 23 Sep 2014