Celmisia clavata


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
clavata: From the Latin clavatus 'club-shaped'

Common Name(s)

Stewart Island silver cushion 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 - RR
2009 - IE


Celmisia clavata G.Simpson et G.Thomson



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. Stewart Island:


Subalpine to alpine, in peat bogs, mires and poorly draining herbfiedl and fellfield


Densely branched, semi-woody, subshrub forming small forming loose patches, cushions or mats up to 700 × 100 mm; branches up to 400 mm long, clothed with persistent leaf-remnants, rebranching closely at the tips; branchlets, densely leafy 30 × 10 mm, clavate, rounded at the tips. Leaves erect, extremely rigid, and closely imbricating, ascending; lamina 5-7 × 1 mm, linear-subulate, coriaceous, irregularly thickened and ridged on both sides, distinctly broadening toward apex before abruptly and bluntly narrowing to an obtuse tip clad on both surfaces in a fine silky, silvery appressed tomentum, apex,. Sheath 7.0-9.0 × 1.0-1.8 mm, membranous, hyaline, mostly pale brown, apex purple, floccose, with dense weft or tuft of silky hairs at leaf-sheath junction. Capitula 15 mm diameter , sessile to subsessile, terminal and solitary, sunken amongst apical leaves; involucral bracts 23-28, 8-10 mm long, subequal, linear-lanceolate, scarious, pale except at dark tip membranous, apex surmounted by a tuft of silky hairs. Ray-florets 6-8 mm long, white; tube slender, limb lanceolate, 3-toothed, veins evident. Disk-florets 5.8-6.0 mm long, yellow, very narrow-funnelform, teeth minute, triangular. Achenes 2.6-3.0 mm long, narrow-cylindric, subcompressed, ± evenly clad in silky, antrorse hairs (especially along ribs and toward apices). Pappus-hairs 5.2-6.0 mm long, off-white, slender, finely barbellate.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from Celmisia argentea by the semi-woody and densely leafy clavate branches, and by the erect, rigid, closely imbricating leaves with abruptly narrowed, obtuse apices. Celmisia clavata is considered by many New Zealand botanists as part of the natural variation within Celmisia argentea. Because of this interpretation its exact distribution is unknown. As treated here, C. clavata is a Stewart island endemic but similar forms occur in Central Otago where they grow with and appear to intergrade with C. argentea. As with most Celmisia taxonomic delimitation is unclear and further study, perhaps using appropriate discriminating DNA markers is probably necessary to resolve the status of this species.


October - January

Flower Colours



November - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Best grown from fresh seed but can be grown from cuttings. Should be planted in a free draining, moist soil. Excellent in a pot in an alpine house, or planted in a south-facing rockery. Dislikes humidity and will not tolerate drying out.


A naturally uncommon species that does not appear to be actively threatened

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 Commercially Available


Description based on herbarium specimens

References and further reading

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