Celmisia inaccessa


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

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 - DP, RR, Sp
2009 - DP


Celmisia inaccessa Given



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 (first described in 1971)


Endemic. South Island: Fiordland National Park in scattered localities between Caswell and Thompson Sounds and inland to Lake Te Anau


Subalpine to alpine. Forming mats on steep, damp, rocky bluffs. Favouring base-rich rocks, especially marble and limestone.


Sprawling subshrub arising from a multicipital stock and forming mats up to 2 m diameter. Branchlets stout, c. 5 mm diameter, clad in leaf remains and emitting cord-like roots along most of length. Living leaves in rosulate tufts at branchlet tips. Lamina 20-60 × 10-20 mm, oblanceolate, light green sometimes glaucous, tip subacute, base tapering gradually into sheath, margin finely dentate; lower and upper surfaces glabrous except for a narrow and sometimes inconspicuous band of deciduous white hairs along the margin; midrib and one to two pairs of lateral veins prominent. Sheath membranous and glabrous, broad. Scape glandular, sometimes with a few deciduous eglandular hairs in lower part, stout, 120-200 × 2-3 mm; bracts many, foliaceous, glandular, oblanceolate to oblong, midrib and one pair of lateral veins prominent. Receptacle subglobose, c.15 mm diameter. Involucral bracts in several series, loosely imbricate, up to 15 mm long, subulate, acuminate, slightly recurved, densely clothed in stalked glandular hairs, margins fimbriate towards tip. Ray florets up to 25 mm long, limb wide, tube with stalked glandular hairs. In disc florets, corolla tube clad in biseriate eglandular hairs of clavate form. Pappus bristles unequal, up to 7 mm long, 20-30 in number, teeth close and short. Achene 2.5-3.5 × 1.0 mm, compressed, densely clad in long bifid hairs.

Similar Taxa

Somewhat similar to Celmisia sinclairii and C. prorepens, species with which it does not grow, and from both of which it differs in leaf lamina colour, shape and venation, by having a narrow band of deciduous white hairs on the lamina margin; by the large bracts on the scape and by the distinctly erect involucral bracts


November - January


December - March

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Can be grown from fresh seed but requires a shaded, permanently moist situation. Does best in a soil that has been enriched in lime, and should be grown amongst limestone or marble rocks


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

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.


Description from Given (1971)

References and further reading

Given, D.R. 1971: Two New Species of Celmisia Cass. (Compositae-Astereae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 9: 526-532

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