Celmisia semicordata subsp. aurigans


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

Common Name(s)

large 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 semicordata subsp. aurigans Given



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites




Endemic. South Island: Central and eastern Otago and Southland (Maungatua, Old Man Range, Skippers, Garvie Mountains).


Montane to alpine. In depleted tussock grasslands and occasionally in herbfield and fellfield


Stout woody-based herb with branchlets arising from a multicipital stock, usually hidden; living leaves in large rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole plant forming an irregular sward-like patch; leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudo-stem. Leaf lamina 110-420 × 20-70 mm, more or less coriaceous, at first erect but soon becoming patent, lanceolate to oblong-ovate; upper surface regularly sulcate, margin recurved, ± concolorous, masked by an obvious golden pellicle sometimes fading to leaden in old leaves; lower surface densely covered in glistening appressed tomentum, midrib prominent; tip acute; margins entire, flat or moderately recurved; base more or less cuneate, occasionally abruptly narrowed to the petiole. Petiole short. Sheath up to 120 × 0 mm, greenish or slightly purplish, clad in floccose white hairs. Scape densely clad in floccose white hairs, stout, up to 450 mm long; bracts ± foliaceous, prominent, erect, up to 150 mm long, margins revolute; usually monocephalous but occasionally with several capitula especially in cultivated specimens. Ray florets 200-250, ligulate, the limb narrow-linear, white. Disc florets 400-450, 8-9 mm long, funneliform, yellow, tube with long eglandular biseriate hairs in lower half. Achene fusiform, strongly grooved, 6-7 mm long, glabrous. Pappus unequal, 6 mm long, of c.40 barbellate bristles.

Similar Taxa

Celmisia semicordata subsp. aurigens differs from subsp. semicordata and subsp. stricta by the golden rather than distinctly silver or greenish bronze pellicle


October - February

Flower Colours



November - July

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

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries


Description from Given (1980)

References and further reading

Given, D.R. 1980: A taxonomic revision of Celmisia coriacea (Forst.f.) Hook.f. and its immediate allies (Astereae-Compositae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 18: 127-140.

This page last updated on 25 Sep 2013