Aciphylla stannensis


Aciphylla: From the Latin acicula 'needle' and the Greek phyllum 'leaf', meaning needle-leaf.
stannensis: after The Tin Range, Stewart Island

Common Name(s)

Tin Range speargrass

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 - Range Restricted


2012 - RR


Aciphylla stannensis J.W.Dawson



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. Stewart Island, Tin Range between Blaikies Hill and Mt Allen.


Subalpine to alpine (550-760 m a.s.l.), in exposed situations, though usually partially sheltered by other shrubs and tussock grases


Stout rosette-forming herb with ascending leaves. Rosettes 1-8(- many). Leaves cartilaginous, orange-green, up to 320 mm or more long, 1-pinnate with 1-2 pairs of leaflets; sheath up to 54 x 8-17 mm; stipules simplex, up to 27 x 1 mm, sometimes absent, spaced up to 6 mm apart at insertions; petiole up to 60 x 6 mm, often shorter, concave, margins acute, sheath joint obscure, pulvinus obscure or rarely evident then up to 5 mm long; lamina more or less obtrullate in profile; lowermost leaflet up to 220 x 5 mm with an apical spine up to 6 mm long, margin and midribs up to 1 mm wide, yellow or orange, margins often raised; marginal tubercles coarse up to 0.15 mm wide, often forming a discontinuous series. Inflorescences narrow. Female inflorescences 0.4-1 m long, with stems up to 250 x 10 mm, reddish brown; head up to 150 x 20 mm, more or less lanceolate in outline; compound umbels up to 22; lower bracts up to 100 mm long with a sheath up to 28 x 8 mm, stipules up to 12 x 1 mm, lamina simple up to 75 x 3 mm, segments ascending to appressed. Lower compound umbels up to 25 mm long, peduncles up to 6 x 1.4 mm, primary bracteoles minute, umbels up to 4 each with peduncles up to 8 x 1mm, the innermost umbels often sessile, secondary bracteoles few up to 2 x 0.8 mm. Flowers up to 10 per umbel; pedicels up to 2 x 0.9 mm, sepals up to 0.3 mm; petals 1 x 0.6 mm, not inflexed, median oil tube red-brown, staminodes up to 0.6 mm long. Male inflorescence up to 380 mm long, stems up to 150 x 6 mm, reddish-brown; head 230 x 50 mm, narrow-ovate in outline; compound umbels up to 27; lower bracts up to 85 mm long, sheaths up to 30 x 4 mm, stipules up to 10 x 1 mm, lamina simple, up to 54 z 2 mm, segments ascending. Lower compound umbels up to 47 mm long, peduncles up to 23 x 1 mm, primary bracteoles minute; umbels up to 9 with peduncles up to 16 x 0.9 mm, the innermost umbels sessille to subsessile; secondary bracteoles 6-7, up to 1.5 x 0.3 mm. Flowers 12 per umbel, pedicels 3 x 0.4 mm; sepals 0.3 mm long; petals 1.1. x 0.75 mm, not inflexed, median oil-tube conspicuous, red-brown; stamens 1.75 mm long. Mericarps up to 8 x 3.3 mm, pale brown, glossy, each pair with 5/3 or 4/3 ribs; lateral ribs up to 0.5 mm wide; styles up to 1.2 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Close to A. trifoliolata Petrie, which is endemic to the South Island on the Lyell Range north of the Buller Gorge. From A. trifoliolata, A. stannensis differs by the petiole < 1/3 as long as the lamina (1/2 in A. trifoliolata), the sheath joint obscurerather than conspicuous, leaflet margin-ribs and midribs 1 mm rather than 0.5 mm wide, female pedicels stout not slender, female petals < 2 as long and broad (rather than 3x longer than broad), larger mericarps (8 x 3 cf. 6 x 1.5 mm) and by the mericarp ribs 0.5 rather than 0.2 mm wide.


January - February (more information needed)

Flower Colours

Brown,Red / Pink


February - April (more information needed)

Propagation Technique



Unknown. The few available reports for this species suggest it is a very localised, narrow range endemic common within its known habitats. It maybe threatened from browsing by white-tailed deer although there have been no reports of this.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2009). Description based on Dawson (1980).

References and further reading

Dawson, J. W. 1980: Aciphylla trifoliolata Petrie and A. stannensis sp. nov. New Zealand Journal of Botany 18: 115-120.

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 May 2014