Celmisia major var. brevis


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
major: greater
brevis: Short

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 - OL
2009 - OL


Celmisia major var. brevis Allan



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 1961)


Endemic. North Island: Mt Egmont (Taranaki).


Subalpine and alpine herbfield.


Herb with tufted lvs arising from simple to multicipital stock, pseudo-stem ± 300 mm long. Lamina 100-150 × 5-16 mm; narrow-linear tapering regularly from sheath to acute apex, coriaceous; upper surface dark silvery green to grey-green clad in thin pellicle (thicker towards base), sulcate; lower densely clad in silvery white satiny appressed tomentum, midrib evident; margins distinctly recurved. Sheath pale, thin, c. 30 mm long, nerves evident, margins ± densely clad in floccose hairs in upper part. Scape stout up to ± 200 mm long, pellicled to subfloccose; bracts ascending, lamina almost filiform up to 25 mm long, tomentum as in leaves; uppermost bracts on weakly developed into a pseudo-involucre. Capitula 20-40 mm diameter; involucral bracts linear-subulate acuminate, ciliate, glabrous on surfaces, 8.9-10.8 mm long with dark apices. Ray-florets numerous, up to 13 mm long, tube very slender, limb gradually widening to apex. Disk-florets narrow-funnelform, c. 7 mm long, teeth narrow-triangular. Achenes narrow-cylindric, grooved, glab. or very nearly so, c. 6-7 mm long. Pappus-hairs white, very slender, hardly barbellate, up to 7 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Part of a widespread complex of ill-resolved taxa that seem to grade between Celmisia graclienta at one end and C. graminifolia at the other. Celmisia graclienta var. brevis differs from var. major by its smaller over all size, more open and more weakly developed pseudo-involucre, and its restriction to subalpine and alpine habitats on Mt Egmont. See comments for Celmisia adamsii var. adamsii, C. adamsii var. rugulosa and C. major var. major.


October - February

Flower Colours



November - April

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, range restricted plant that is abundant within its only known location Mt Egmont National Park

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 February 2009). Description adapted from Allan (1961)

References and further reading

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

This page last updated on 7 May 2014