Celmisia cordatifolia var. cordatifolia


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

Common Name(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 - Range Restricted


2012 - Sp
2009 - Sp


Celmisia cordatifolia Buchanan var. cordatifolia



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


Celmisia petiolata var. cordatifolia (Buchanan) Kirk


Distribution: Endemic. South Island: Wairau Mountains (Mounts Fishtail, Old Man, Rintoul) Bryant Range (Mt Starveall, Duppa), Ben Nevis.


Alpine (1300-1600 m a.s.l.). On skeletal soils and associated peat within rocky herbfield.


Woody-based herb with short branchlets arising from a sparsely multicipital stock, usually just below the soil surface; living leaves in rosettes at the tips several rosettes. Leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted into a pseudostem. Leaf lamina 40-120 × 20-50 mm, coriaceous, at first erect but later decumbent, cordate to ovate; upper surface often sulcate, concolorous, yellowish to glaucous-green, glabrous or with scattered white hairs when young; lower surface thickly clad in felted, dull, deep buff to dark chocolate brown hairs: tip acute; margins entire, slightly to moderately recurved, often with a rim of ferrugineous hairs; base prominently cordate; petiole up to twice lamina length, purple, covered in floccose ferrugineous hairs. Scape purple, clad in dense ferrugineous tomentum, up to 350 mm long; bracts numerous, erect, linear, monocephalous. Capitula up to 60 mm diameter. Phyllaries in several series, linear-subulate, erect, glabrous in lower part and densely brown-tomentose towards tip. Ray florets c. 25, ligulate, the limb linear-lanceolate, white. Disc florets c. 110, funneliform, yellow; tube with eglandular biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform cylindric, ribbed, 4-5 mm long, glabrous. Pappus unequal, 5-6 mm long, of 25-30 bristles.

Similar Taxa

Could be confused with Celmisia traversii which is common south of the Wairau River. From that species Celmisia cordatifolia differs by its shorter leaves which are distinctly cordate, and yellowish- or glaucous-green rather than bright green. Celmisia cordatifolia var. similis, a doubtfully distinct taxon differs from var. cordatifolia by its thinner and more pointed leaves whose lamina margins are prominently rather than weakly recurved, and by the tomentum of lower surface which is closely appressed, lustrous, and coloured pale buff rather than rather thickly felted, dull, and coloured deep buff to chocolate brown. Celmisia cordatifolia var. similis is known only from a few gatherings all made from Mt Richmond in the Wairau Mountains. Celmisia cordatifolia var. brockettii differs by the lanceolate-cordate rather than cordate-ovate leaf. Very little is known about var. brockettii which was not regarded as distinct by Given (1984) but seems every bit as distinctive as var. similis which he did accept.


October - January

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Unknown. Probably easy from fresh seed that has been cold treated. However, like many Celmisia probably difficult to maintain in warm or humid climates.


A Naturally Uncommon, narrow range endemic which though extremely localised is common in its few known localities and under no obvious human induced threats.

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.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (22 February 2009). Description based on Given (1984)

References and further reading

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