Celmisia traversii


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
traversii: Named after William Thomas Locke Travers (1819-1903) who was an Irish lawyer, magistrate, politician, explorer, naturalist, photographer. He lived in New Zealand from 1849 and was a fellow of the Linnean Society.

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 traversii 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 praestans Allan


Endemic. South Island — Tasman Mountains as far south as the Wangapeka Saddle; along the main divide from St Arnaud Range to about Doubtful Valley; scattered populations in mountains south of Wairau Valley to Hanmer; Shale Peak, Canterbury; eastern Fiordland from Key Summit to the Hump and Cameron mountains; Mararoa Valley; Takitimu Mountains


Montane to alpine. Mostly in tussockland and rocky herbfield, especially south facing. In inland Marlborough it occurs on shaded bluffs in the headwaters of major rivers.


Woody-based herb with short branchlets arising from a multicipital stock, usually just below the soil surface; living leaves in rosettes at the tips of branchlets; the whole plant forming a clump of few to many rosettes. Leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted into pseudostem. Leaf lamina 50-300 × 15-90 mm, coriaceous, at first erect but later decumbent, lanceolate, elliptic, oblong to sometimes oblanceolate; upper surface often sulcate, concolorous, deep green, glabrous or with whitish hairs especially along the midrib; lower surface densely clad with thick ferrugineous or deep buff tomentum; tip acute, margins entire, rimmed with ferrugineous hairs; base obliquely cuneate or truncate; petiole usually short, sometimes up to 1/3 - 2/3 lamina length, purple, often clad in floccose whitish hairs. Scape purple, clad in buff or ferrugineous tomentum, up to 300 mm long; bracts numerous, erect, linear; monocephalous. Capitula up to 60 mm diameter. Involucral bracts in several series, linear-subulate, erect, clad throughout with brown tomentum. Ray florets c.75, ligulate, the limb linear-lanceolate, white. Disc florets c. 160, funneliform, yellow; tube with eglandular, biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform cylindric, strongly ribbed, 5 mm long, glabrous. Pappus unequal 6-7 mm long, of c. 30 bristles.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from the closely related, allopatric Celmisia cordatifolia by the leaf blade which is cuneate to truncate, rarely < 100 mm long, and by the brown-tomentose involucral bracts.


November - March

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

One of the few Celmisia that is easily grown in most climates though it dislikes high humidity. Best grown in a moist, free draining soil, within some afternoon shade. Plants can be raised from division but are best grown from fresh seed.


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

Occasionaly available from specialist native plant nurseries.


Description based on Given (1984)

References and further reading

Given, D.R. 1984: A taxonomic revision of Celmisia subgenus Pelliculatae section Petiolatae (Compositae—Astereae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 139-158.

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