Celmisia brevifolia


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
brevifolia: short-leaved

Common Name(s)

common shrub 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 brevifolia Cockayne



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




Endemic. South Island: Throughout.


Montane to subalpine. Widespread in open grassland, rocky places and fellfield.


Sprawling subshrub forming loose clumps up to c.0.8 m diameter; stems and branches stout, woody, clad in long-persistent leaf-remnants; branchlets rather stout, clad in imbricate, suberect, finally ± reflexed leaves. Lamina coriaceous, 10-20 × 6-9 mm, oblong to obovate-oblong; upper surface viscid, at first clad in thin pellicle, or pellicle long enduring; lower surface clad in subappressed soft white or almost satiny tomentum, midrib evident or obscured; apex obtuse, margins remotely and minutely toothed to subentire, very slightly recurved; base abruptly narrowed to sheath or very short petiole. Sheath very thin, glabrous, ± translucent, up to 10 mm long, closely appressed to branchlet. Scape slender, viscid, ± 40-80 mm long, erect; bracts few, lamina linear, up to c. 10 mm. long. Capitula 20-30 mm diameter; involucral bracts narrow-linear to narrow linear-spathulate, c.8 mm long, ± densely clad in floccose hairs on margins and towards apex, midrib evident. Ray-florets narrow-spathulate to linear, tube ± glandular, limb-apex 3-4-toothed, margins recurved when dry. Disk-florets 5-6 mm long, narrowly funnelform, teeth triangular. Achenes 2-3 mm long, compressed-cylindric, ribs rather densely clad in short ascending hairs. Pappus-hairs slender, white to sordid-white, up to c.5 mm long, very finely barbellate.

Similar Taxa

One of a small group of celmisias that are readily recognised by their stout, woody, subshrub growth habit with leaves that overlap but never form rosulate tufts at the stem apices. From C. gibbsii and C. rupestris it is distinguished by the oblong rather than linear or lanceolate leaves which are 6-9 mm rather than up to 5 mm wide, and which have rounded rather than narrowly obtuse, acute or acuminate apices


October - February

Flower Colours



November - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and hardwood cuttings. Reasonably easy to grow but dislikes humidity and cannot tolerate drying out. Best grown in a rockery or within a pot in an alpine house.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


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 15 Aug 2014