Apium prostratum subsp. denticulatum


Apium: The ancient Latin name for celery or parsley. Believed to be derived from the Celtic word apon 'ditch' and refers to the watery habitat of many species
prostratum: prostrate

Common Name(s)

Chatham Island celery

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
2009 - IE


Apium prostratum subsp. denticulatum P.S.Short



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 to the Chatham and Antipodes islands


Coastal. Found on rock shorelines, boulder and sand beaches, on basalt, limestone and schist outcrops and in coastal turf. Also common amongst driftwood and kelp, and within saltmarshes and seepages near the sea. On the outer islands often found in association with burrowing petrels, and so may on occasion be found within tall forest.


Perennial, glabrous, prostrate herb. Stems prostrate, sprawling, often ascending though surrounding vegetation, not rooting at nodes; 0.3-1.2 m long, up to 6 mm diam. Leaves dark green to yellow green, basal ones on long, slender petioles up to 500 mm (usually much less); pinnately 3-foliolate to 1-2-pinnate with 3-7 leaflets, segments ovate, obovate to cuneate, denticulate; leaves opposite umbels up to 600 mm long; leaflets all primary, 3-5, divided, with margins of primary segments denticulate due to the large number of secondary and tertiary segments, ultimate sgements to tertiary order, c.50-120. Inflorescences in compound umbels, sessile or pedunculate; peduncle usually present. 2-20 mm x 1-3 mm, usually ebracteate, sometimes one present present, this usually shedding early in umbel maturation. Rays 10-20, 0.4-8 mm long. Petals off-white to cream, with yellow-brown mid vein, ovate 0.75-1.5 x 0.5-1.0 mm, constricted at base, apex acute. Stamens about length of petals, filaments pale yellow to cream; anthers whitre or pale yellow, 0.3-0.4 x 0.3-0.4 mm. Ovary glabrous, stylopodium disciform; style 0.25-0.40 mm. Mericarps (1.5-)2.0-2.7 mm long, ovate to ovate-oblong, apex narrowed to persistent withered calyx teeth and style remnant, base broad and rounded to weakly cordate; ribs prominent, broad, rounded and spongy. Surface dull yellow to pale brown.

Similar Taxa

Apium prostratum subsp. denticulatum is endemic to the Chatham and Antipodes islands. It differs from A. prostratum subsp. prostratum var. filiforme by the leaves opposite the umbels up to 60 mm long; primary leaflets 3-5, leaflets or segments markedly denticulate with 6-36 secondary segments per leaflet only. Garden celery (Apium graveolens L.) has been reported wild on the Chatham Islands and can look very similar. However, it is an erect, biennial herb with filiform ribs on the mericarps (fruits).


(July-) October - February

Flower Colours



(September-) February (-May)

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and rooted pieces. The stems are edible and very pleasant tasting.


Not Threatened. Listed because it is a local endemic, abundant on all the main Chatham and Antipodes islands.

Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy
Not commercially available

References and further reading

Johnson, A. T., Smith, H. A. (1972). Plant Names Simplified: Their pronunciation, derivation and meaning. Landsman Bookshop Ltd: Buckenhill, UK.

This page last updated on 23 Jun 2013