Celmisia hookeri


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
hookeri: Named after Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker (born 1817) - a world famous botanist who travelled on the Antarctic expedition of 1839 under the command of Sir James Ross and wrote "Handbook of New Zealand Flora" published in 1864-67 describing many specimens sent to Kew by collectors. He died in 1911 and has a memorial stone at Westminster Abbey London.

Common Name(s)

Hooker's mountain daisy

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 - Sp


Celmisia hookeri Cockayne



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




Endemic. South Island Northern and eastern Otago from Moeraki and Shag Points inland through the Wainakarua River, Trotters Gorge, Otepopu River to the Horse Range and Macraes Flat; also by the Mataura River and between Mid Dome and Slates Ranges. There are historical but unverified records from the Waitaki Valley.


Coastal to montane (0 - 450 m a.s.l.). A rupestral favouring open to partially shaded rocky headlands, bluffs, cliff faces, steep gullies and boudler field. Sometimes found under grey scrub but only in relatively open situations.


Stout, woody based herb with short branchlets arising from a weakly multicipital, partially buried rootstock. Leaves in dense rosettes at branchlet apices; the whole plant forming a mat of rosettes. Leaf-sheaths greenish-purple, persistent, densely imbricate and compacted to form a pseudostem. Petioles 1/4-1/2 lamina length, pale or deep purple, often with a thin covering of pale lustrous pale hairs which are floccose towards base. Lamina 120-400 x 40-90 mm, oblanceolate to elliptic, upper surface yellow to pale green with greenish-purple midrib; upper surface initially hairy, becoming glabrate to glabrous with age (except for margins), veins impressed; lower surface densely covered in lustrous indumentum of pale buff or creamy hairs, veins distinct; apex acute, margins entire, not recurved, with a broad rim of whitish to buff hairs; base obliquely cuneate; lamina coriaceous, initially erect, tending to suberect or decumbent with age. Scape up to 500 mm long, purplish, covered in pale indumentum, bracteate, bracts numerous, erect, linear, foliaceous. Capitula solitary, up to 100 mm diameter. Involucral bracts in several rows, linear-subulate, erect, densely brown-tomentulose. Ray florets up to 80, ligulate, limbs linear-lanceolate, white. Disc florets up to 250, funneliform, yellow; tube covered with eglandular biseriate hairs. Achene 5 mm long, fusiform-cylindric, ribbed, glabrous. Pappus unequal, 9 mm long, of between 35-40 bristles.

Similar Taxa

A well marked and distinctive species whose stout, coriaceous leaves up to 400 mm long, greenish-purple sheath and leaf midrib, broad capitula up to 100 mm in diameter, and pappus hairs up to 9 mm long serve to distinguish it from other allied Celmisia. C. hookeri is allopatric from all other New Zealand members of Celmisia subgenus Pelliculatae section Petiolatae.


September - December

Flower Colours



October - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Can be grown in non-humid climates and is one of the few Celmisia that generally grows well in most garden conditions. However, it can be fickle. Should be grown from fresh seed and planted in a fertile, free draining sunny situation. Dislikes excessive moisture, and humidity.


A widespread, at times locally common but usually sparsely distributed species. Its cliff, bluff and gorge habitats could be relictual and it is possible that past fires and animal browse has confined this species to these habitats. However, there appear to be few existing threats, populations appear stable, and as there is no direct proof of past decline this species best fits the concept of a sparse defined by the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

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

Not commericially available.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 February 2009). Description adapted from Allan (1961) and Given (1984).

References and further reading

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

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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309


This page last updated on 31 May 2014