Celmisia densiflora


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
densiflora: densely flowered

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 densiflora 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 - Composites




Endemic. South Island: From southern Marlborough and North Canterbury south to northern Southland


Montane to subalpine. Inhabiting grassland, herbfield, fell-field and open subalpine shrubland


Tufted herb with stout woody simple or sparingly branched stock; leaf-sheaths densely imbricating, forming a pseudo-stem. Lamina coriaceous, narrow- to narrowly obovate-oblong, ± 60-150 × 15-40 mm, obtuse or subacute; upper surface glabrous or nearly so; lower densely clad in appressed white satiny tomentum; both with evident midrib; margins very slightly recurved, bluntly (sometimes apiculately) crenate-sinuate, narrowed to petiole of diverse dimensions; sheath strongly ribbed, glabrous or very nearly so, c.50 × 10 mm. Scape ± 150-400 mm long, glabrous, glandular-viscid, purplish, stout; bracts linear, lamina ± 25-40 mm long, apiculate, clad below in white satiny tomentum. Capitula 25-40 mm diameter; involucral bracts numerous, linear-subulate, glabrous, viscid, up to c.15 mm long, apex hairy. Ray-florets c.15-20 mm long, narrow; disk-florets 7-8 mm long, funnelform, teeth narrow-triangular, c.1 mm long. Achenes compressed-cylindric, c.6 mm long, strongly grooved, with appressed silky hairs on ribs. Pappus-hairs slender, up to c. 6 mm long, white to sordid-white, barbellate

Similar Taxa

Allan (1961) aligned this species with Celmisia parva from which he distinguished it by the larger leaves (60-150 x 15-40 mm cf. < 60 x15 mm in C. parva) which are conspicuously rather than minutely toothed. However, the late A. P. Druce regarded C. densiflora and C. prorepens as the same species. Further study into the status of this species pair, as indeed the taxonomic status of all Celmisia is urgently needed.


November - January

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a shaded site, planted within a permanently moist, free draining, acidic soil. Dislikes humidity and will not tolerate drying out. Best grown from fresh seed which should be sown immediately or stratified in a fridge or freezer for 1-3 months


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


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.

This page last updated on 15 Aug 2014