Aciphylla subflabellata


Aciphylla: From the Latin acicula 'needle' and the Greek phyllum 'leaf', meaning needle-leaf.
subflabellata: somewhat fan-like

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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 - Declining
2004 - Sparse


2012 - DP, Sp
2009 - DP, Sp


Aciphylla subflabellata W.R.B.Oliv.



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 in the east from south-eastern Marlborough to Southland


Montane to subalpine (300-1400 m a.s.l.). Usually in dry sites on alluvial terraces, gentle rolling slopes and colluvium, intermontane basins amongst short or tall tussocks and on the margins of grey scrub. Sometimes on or near rock outcrops or amongst boulders.


Stout perennial forming stout rosettes. Stems up to 0.8 m long. Leaves yellow-green to grey-green, narrowly subflabellate-bipinnate. Sheaths membranous, up to 20 mm long, ligules 2, up to 10 mm long; stipules 20 mm long, irregularly bipinnate. Petioles 25 x 5 mm, concavo-convex with internodes up to 25 mm long. Primary pinnae 3-4 pairs, these strongly serrulate-crenulate on midrib and margins, sometimes pinnate again with leaflets up to 200 x 3 mm, narrowly acicular. Stems stout, deeply grooved up to 1 m x 25 mm, including inflorescence 0.5-0.6 m long. Bracts numerous, close-set; sheaths up to 70 x 10 mm; stipules erect, simple to bifid, up to 150 x 1 mm; central leaflet up to 300 mm long, at length strongly reflexed, margins serrulate. Umbels exceeding the bract-sheaths especially in the male inflorescence. Mericarps 5-12 mm long with 5 ribs, 3-4 of these winged.

Similar Taxa

Perhaps most similar to A. squarrosa., and in someways resembling a more finely divided varaint of it. A. subflabellata is a much smaller plant than the typical form of A. squarrosa, and differs by the subflabellate flattened leaves - a condition caused by the close-set leaf pinnae which are positioned more or less in the same plane as the leaf axis


December - February

Flower Colours



February - May

Propagation Technique

One of the easier species to cultivate, though it dislikes humidity and excessive moisture. Should be planted in a sunny, free draining situation. Once planted do not transplant or disturb roots. Can be grown in a tub.


Widespread but generally never common. Possibly it is more threatened than believed because many of its lowland habitats are extremely modified, weed infested and plants are browsed where accessible by cattle, rabbits and hares. Current herbarium evidence suggests that this species is still poorly known but that from available evidence it is naturally uncommon over large parts of its stated range.

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 September 2004). Description based on Allan 91961).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Government Priniter, 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 19 Dec 2014