Centipeda elatinoides


Centipeda: From the Greek word for one hundred feet
elatinoides: Resembling Elatine - a superficially similar plant of wetlands and fresh water bodies

Common Name(s)

Sneezeweed, snuff weed

Current Conservation Status

2018 - Data Deficient

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

2012 - Not Threatened
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Centipeda elatinoides (Less.) Benth. et Hook. ex O.Hoffm.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites


Myriogyne elatinoides Less, Cotula foetida Peopp. ex DC., Centipeda orbicularis var. sternutatoria (Roxb.) Bailey


Indigenous. New Zealand, North and South Island. Exact distribution unclear as this species has only just (2001) been recognised in New Zealand. Present in Australia and Chile (South America)


Coastal to lowland (0-300 m a.s.l.). Usually on recently exposed muddy ground on seasonally inundated sites, e.g., shallow lake and lake margins. ephemeral ponds, river and stream banks and in seepages.


Prostrate annual to perennial herb, all parts glabrous to glabrescent, usually with short arachnoid hairs near growing tips; branches spreading, up to 300 mm long, rooting from lower nodes. Leaves alternate, obovate to narrowly obovate, 6-20 x 2.5-8 mm, glaucous green to green, margins entire or finely crenate, resin-dotted. Inflorescence a single, shortly pedunculate, leaf opposed capitulum. Peduncle 0.5-3 mm long. Capitula at flowering biconvex to hemispherical, 3-5 mm diam.; involucral bracts 1-2-seriate, obovate, 1-1.5 mm long; receptacle convex; female (outer) florets 40-80, in 2-4 rows, cylindrical, 0.2-0.4 mm, green or yellow-green; bisexual (inner) florets 4-14, obconic, 0.5-0.7 mm, purplish. Fruiting head disarticulating before stem senescence. Cypselas of female and bisexual florets similar, narrowly obovate, 1.2-2 mm, obtuse at apex, flattened, 3-4-angled in section, ribs clothed with antrorse appressed hairs, pericarp slightly thickened at or close to apex

Similar Taxa

In New Zealand C. elatinoides has been confused with C. cunninghamii, C. aotearoana, and C. minima subsp. minima. However, it is most frequently confused with C. minima subsp. minima from which it differs by its larger foliage, capitula, cypsela and usually perennial habit. The presence of fine arachnoid hairs toward the branch apices is also rather diagnostic of this species.


September - May

Flower Colours



October - July

Propagation Technique

Easy from rooted pieces and fresh seed. Rather invasive but ideal as a ground cover on poorly draining but exposed ground. The foliage is pleasantly aromatic.


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. C. elatinoides could also be regarded as introduced but this too seems unlikely for much the same reasons.


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 2 Jun 2014