Celmisia sessiliflora


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
sessiliflora: with unstalked flowers

Common Name(s)

white cushion 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 sessiliflora 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


Celmisia sessiliflora var. exigua G.Simpson et J.S.Thomson; Celmisia sessiliflora var. pedunculata Kirk


Endemic. South Island: Widespread from Nelson south to Southland


Montane to alpine. In grassland, herbfield and fellfield. Sometimes on rock outcrops


Robust densely branched subshrub forming dense patches up to c.1 m diameter and up to 100 mm tall; branchlets close-set, densely clad in imbricate leaves forming compacted rosettes. Leaves erect, becoming reflexed, sheaths persistent. Lamina 10.0-30.0 × 1•5-3.0 mm, linear to linear-subulate, coriaceous, rather rigid; both surfaces densely clad in short appressed white matted hairs; apex obtuse to sub-acute, sometimes subcucullate or apiculate; slightly narrowed at base to pale membranous sheath ± = lamina, ± clad in deciduous matted hairs. Scape reduced to minute stalk densely clad in floccose hairs, sometimes elongating to c.50 mm at fruiting stage and then hairs sparse or absent, ebracteate. Capitula 10-20 mm diameter or more, at first at least closely subtended by leaves; involucral bracts pale, slender, linear-subulate, up to 12 mm long, ± scarious, pilose (with hairs long-persistent at apex). Ray-florets c.15-17 mm long, white; linear, slightly expanded at tips; disk-florets c. 8 mm long, narrow-funnelform, flaring at 5-toothed apex. Achenes 3-4 mm long, cylindric-compressed; hairs on rather obscure ribs short, rather stiff. Pappus usually white; hairs up to 9 mm long, minutely barbellate

Similar Taxa

Can only be confused with Celmisia argentea. Celmisia argentea is confined to Otago and Southland. It is mainly distinguished by its smaller size and much shorter leaves (3.0-5.0 × 0.5-1.5 mm cf. 10.0-30.0 × 1.5-3.0 mm).


October - February

Flower Colours



November - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Best grown from fresh seed but can be grown from cuttings. Should be planted in a free draining, moist soil. Excellent in a pot in an alpine house, or planted in a south-facing rockery. Dislikes humidity and will not tolerate drying out.


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

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 15 Aug 2014