Celmisia morganii


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)

Ngakawau Gorge 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


Celmisia morganii Cheeseman



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. South Island: Vicinity of Ngakawau (Ngakawau River Gorge, Haggard Creek, Blackwater River)


Lowland to montane. Riparia, in damp seepages and wet spots in rock talus above rivers and creeks, and on shaded, wet cliff faces along river gorges


Woody-based herb with branchlets arising from a multicipital stock, usually close to soil surface; living leaves in large rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole plant forming irregular patches of numerous rosettes; leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudo-stem. Leaf lamina 150-350 × 18-30 mm, subcoriaceous or flaccid, older leaves weakly patent, lanceolate to oblong; upper surface finely sulcate, concolorous, dark green, glabrate or with a thin, scurfy greenish pellicle; lower surface densely covered in glistening appressed tomentum, midrib prominent and sometimes purple; tip acute; margins entire, slightly revolute; base ± gradually narrowed to a purple, ribbed petiole up to 80 mm long. Sheath up to 60 × 25 mm, purple (rarely greenish), clad in floccose, white hairs or glabrate. Scape purple, thinly clad in floccose, white hairs, slender, up to 300 mm long; bracts several in upper ½, erect, linear; monocephalous. Ray florets c.40, ligulate, the limb narrow-linear, white. Disc florets c.50, 6 mm long, funneliform, yellow, tube with long eglandular biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform, grooved, 3.0-4.5 mm long, glabrous or slightly hairy; hairs short, appressed, bifid. Pappus unequal, c.6 mm long, of c.30 barbellate bristles.

Similar Taxa

Celmisia morganii is allied to Celmisia dubia, C. monroi, and C. semicordata. From these species it is most likely to be confused with C. monroi from which it differs by the floppy rather than erect growth habit, leaves whose lamina is glabrate or with a scurfy, greenish rather than leaden pellicle.


September - July

Flower Colours



October - August

Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a shaded site, planted within a permanently moist, free draining, soil. Dislikes humidity and will not tolerate drying out. Best grown from fresh seed which should be sown immediately or stratified in a fridge or freezer for 1-3 months


A Naturally Uncommon, narrow range endemic that is abundant within its few known locations. Although there are known major active threats the main population is located within a river system under investigation for a hydroelectric dam

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.

Notes on taxonomy

Celmisia morganii is considered by some New Zealand botanists as indistinct being in their view simply a westerly outlier of C. monroi



Description from Given (1980)

References and further reading

Given, D.R. 1980: A taxonomic revision of Celmisia coriacea (Forst.f.) Hook.f. and its immediate allies (Astereae-Compositae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 18: 127-140.

This page last updated on 25 Sep 2013