Aciphylla multisecta


Aciphylla: From the Latin acicula 'needle' and the Greek phyllum 'leaf', meaning needle-leaf.
multisecta: many divisions

Common Name(s)

None known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Sparse


2012 - RR


Aciphylla multisecta Cheeseman



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 other than Composites




Endemic. South Island, from central Canterbury and Westland south to Fiordland


High altitude alpine (> 1300 m a.s.l.) on rock ledges, cliff faces and in or around seepages, or below snow melts.


Short, tufted herb forming patches up to 250 x 400 mm. Rootstock simple or branched. Leaves 60-100 mm, rigid, 3-pinnatisect. Sheath up to 50 x 25 mm, deeply ribbed; margins membranous. Stipules 30-50 mm long, 1-2(-3)-pinnate, tapering, on short to very short ligules, pungent. Petioles up to 150 mm long, rather stout and rigid, concavo-convex; margins thickened. Internodes 15 mm long. Primary pinnae 4-8 pairs; secondary 2-4 pairs; tertiary rather slender, almost filiform, 20-40 x 1 mm, apex pungent. Stems of female plants stout, 30 mm long, with inflorescence up to 150 mm long. bract-sheaths chartaceous, c. 40 x 10 mm, including short ligule; stipules acicular, up to 10 mm long; lamina 2-3-pinnate, 40 mm long, on petioles up to 10 mm long. Umbels numerous, forming a dense globose panicle 60-100 mm diameter. Primary rays up to 40 x 1 mm, grooved. Umbellules numerous, up to 30 mm diameter, on rather slender rays. Fruit c.3 mm long, narrow; mericarps 4-5-winged.

Similar Taxa

Aciphylla multisecta is perhaps most closely allied to A. divisa and A. dissecta species from which it differs by possessing simple, 1-2(-3)-pinnate stipules 30-50 mm long, and stout, rather rigid petioles that are between 80-150 mm long, and by its densely compacted, subglobose panicle. Aciphylla is serious need of revision, using modern techniques. Until such time as such a revision id completed the relationships and distinctions between many of the taxa accepted by Flora of New Zealand Volume I,will remain unclear.


November - December

Flower Colours



November - January

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Unlikely to be threatened. However it is known from very few collections and does not seem to be that common where it has been found. Partly this perception may be due to the fact that it favours high altitude cliff habitats that are not frequented by botanists but it does seem to be scarce and sparsely distributed over large parts of apparently suitable habitat, and this appears to be a naturally rather than induced pattern.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Winged schizocarps are dispersed primarily by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 February 2004. Description adapted from Allan (1961).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.

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 12 Nov 2014