Centipeda cunninghamii


Centipeda: From the Greek word for one hundred feet
cunninghamii: Named after Allan Cunningham (1791 – 1839) who was an English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels to Australia (New South Wales) and New Zealand to collect plants. Author of Florae Insularum Novae Zelandiae Precursor, 1837-40 (Introduction to the flora of New Zealand).

Common Name(s)


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


Centipeda cunninghamii (DC.) A.Braun & Asch.



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


Myriogyne cunninghamii DC.


Indigenous. North and South Islands. Also present in Australia and New Caledonia


Coastal to montane (up to 600 m a.s.l.). Especially common in muddy/sility ground left by receeding waters along lake, pond, stream and river margins. Also in muddy hollows within rough pasture, paddocks, tussock grassland, in damp depressions within dune swales and sometimes in similar sites within urban areas


Erect or ascending perennial (sometimes when stressed annual) up to 300 mm tall, new growth commonly resprouting from base, glabrous or cottony. Leaves 7.0-30 x 2.5-7.0 mm, yellow-green or green, somewhat glaucescent, concolorous (rarely paler below); lamina oblong or narrowly obovate, serrate, glabrous, resin-dotted on both surfaces. Inflorescence a single sessile, cauline, capitulum, not leaf-opposed, often in branch axils. Capitula at anthesis biconvex, hemispherical or subglobular, 4-8 mm diameter; involucral bracts 3-5-seriate, obovate, 1.5-3.0 mm long, entire or with minutely ruminate membranous margins, glabrous to lightly (rarely densely) cottony; receptacle strongly convex; female (outer) florets c.200-350 in 7-12 rows, corollas narrowly cylindrical 0.3-0.7 mm long (including lobes 0.1 mm long); bisexual florets 20-70, corollas funnelform, 0.7-0.8 mm long (including lobes 0.3 x 0.3 mm), pale green, rarely reddish. Fruiting heads usually remaining intact until stems senesce; bracts of fruiting heads widely spreading; fruiting receptacle 1.8-3.5 mm diameter with a pith layer entirely contained within the dome of the receptacle; cypselas 1.2-2.0 mm long, oblong, apex truncate or rounded; body with 4 prominent ribs, occasionally with 1-2 minor ribs, the ribs smooth or scabridulous, united at or above 3/4 of the cypsela length into a thickened, spongy or corky apical portion, the pericarp between the ribs in the lower part thin with the brown testa of the seed apparent; vesicular trichomes scattered over faces of cypsela between the ribs. Hairs on ribs antrorse to antrorse-appressed, 0.1-0.2 mm long, usually tightly inrolled at their apices.

Similar Taxa

Most likely to be confused with C. elatinoides, and C. aotearoana. C. elatinoides differs by its hairless or slightly cob-webbed branchlets, shortly stalked capitula, and narrowly obovate cypselas with rounded apices. Centipeda aotearoana differs by its mostly prostrate, widely spreading growth form, leaves up to 12 mm long, 8-17 rather than 20 or more bisexual florets in the capitula, and smaller (0.9-1.3 mm cf. 1.8-3.5 mm) fruiting capitula.


September - February

Flower Colours

Green,Red / Pink


October - June

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed and cuttings. Inclined to become invasive.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 20

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Cypselae dispersed by wind, attachment and granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Notes on taxonomy

Collectively the four species now recognised from New Zealand were all regarded by Allan (1961) as C. orbicularis, a later synonym of C. minima. Webb et al. (1988) were the first to recognise C. minima and C. cunninghamii as present in New Zealand. However they regarded C. cunninghamii as introduced. NZPCN does not because it is just as likely it was introduced naturally to New Zealand by water fowl.


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 5 May 2005. Description adapted from Walsh (2001).

References and further reading

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

Walsh, N.G. 2001: A revision of Centipeda (Asteraceae). Muelleria 15: 33-64.

Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (eds). Flora of New Zealand. Vol. IV. Christchurch, Botany Division, D.S.I.R. 1365 p.

This page last updated on 14 Aug 2014