Celmisia adamsii var. adamsii


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
adamsii: Named for James Adams (1839-1906) an exceptional amateur botanist who established the Thames High School. In 1906 he died suddenly whilst still the headmaster of the high school. He is buried in the Tararu Cemetery, Thames. James Adams was a friend of the first Auckland Museum Director Thomas Cheeseman whom he often accompanied in the field. Cheeseman commemorated Adams contributions to New Zealand Botany with the species Brachyglottis adamsii, Celmisia adamsii, and Trilepidea adamsii. His granddaughter was Jacqueline Nancy Adams (1926-2007) botanical illustrator, artist, botanist and phycologist whose name is also commemorated by a number of marine seaweeds.

Common Name(s)

Adams 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 - Range Restricted


2012 - Sp


Celmisia adamsii Cheeseman var. adamsii



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


None (described in 1895)


Endemic. North Island: From Castle Rock (above Coromandel) south to the Kauaeranga Valley. Also Mt Pirongia (Hihikiwi and nearby high points)


Montane along river gorges, on steep-sided, shaded, sparsely vegetated slopes, rock outcrops, cliff faces and rock tors.


Tufted herb with simple or sparingly branched stock, pseudo-stem up to ± 60 mm long. Lamina subcoriaceous, acute, often with fine apiculus, 90-400 × 10-30 mm, narrowly to broadly oblong-lanceolate to almost linear-oblong (diverse forms may occur on same plant); upper surface ± glabrous, dark green to yellow-green, with ± distinct thin pellicle, midrib broad, grooved, main veins prominent; lower clad in soft white appressed or subappressed tomentum, midrib prominent; margins distantly finely denticulate, narrowing to petiole up to c. 30 mm long; sheath ± 50 × 15 mm, dark green, sometimes tinged purple, veins evident, surface tomentum ± as in lamina, margins floccose. Scape 150-400 mm long, rather slender, often flexuous, ± flattened, ± clad in floccose tomentum. Bracts usually few, up to 10 mm long, lamina almost filiform. Capitula 30-50 mm diameter; involucral bracts, green to pale green, linear-subulate to narrow-lanceolate, c.12 mm long, margins ciliolate, midrib evident. Ray-florets numerous, up to 30 mm. long, tube slender; limb gradually widened to 4-toothed apex, veins distinct. Disk-florets 6.0-6.5 mm long, narrow-funnelform, teeth narrow-triangular. Achenes glabrous, strongly ribbed, narrowly compressed-cylindric to very narrowly obovoid, ± 4 mm. long. Pappus-hairs sordid-white, up to 5 mm long, slender, finely barbellate.

Similar Taxa

When the range of variation in C. adamsii var. adamsii is considered critically var. rugulosa (said to differ by its shorter and stouter foliage) is scarcely any different. The main distinction between them appears to be the generally narrower leaves and more markedly silvery upper leaf pellicle of var. rugulosa. Celmisia adamsii var. rugulosa grades into C. major var. major which appears to be a linking form between the northerly C. adamsii var. rugulosa and more southerly var. adamsii. Critical study into these species is required, especially in relation to the type of C. graminifolia which is said to have come from the Bay of Islands, but more probably came from near Whangarei. The type of C. graminifolia seems indistinguishable from C. adamsii var. rugulosa (Dr P. J. de Lange pers. comm.).


September - April

Flower Colours



October - July

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. One of the few Celmisia that adapts well to cultivation. Does best in a semi-shaded site in a moist, free draining soil. Dislikes humidity and inclined to be short-lived.


A naturally uncommon, narrow range endemic that is locally common in parts of its Coromandel Peninsula range. Some populations have been damaged by tracking and illegal plant collection but most are secure. On Mt Pirongia it is very uncommon and seems to be dying out as denser vegetation colonises the formerly open rock outcrops it grew on. This vegetation shift is due to intensive goat and deer control on that mountain which has helped restore the natural cloud forest vegetation but ironically at the expense of some unusual occurrences of small, montane often herbaceous plants like this Celmisia.

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


Description adapted from Allan (1961) and de Lange (1994)

References and further reading

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

de Lange, P.J. 1994. Celmisiaon Mt Pirongia Western Waikato some notes on its identity and taxonomy. Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 49: 74-76.

This page last updated on 25 Sep 2013