Celmisia rutlandii


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 - Sp


Celmisia rutlandii Kirk



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: Mount Stokes; Richmond Range and Wairau mountains (Mount Patriarch, Mount Richmond, Mount Fishtail, Royal Knob, Mount Sunday, Mount Riley


Alpine. Fellfield and crevices in rock outcrops surrounded by tussock grassland.


Woody-based herb with branchlets arising from a sparsely multicipital stock, usually close to the soil surface; living leaves in rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole plant forming a clump of 1-8 rosettes; leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudo-stem. Leaf lamina 50-130 x 15-35 mm, coriaceous and rigid, all but the oldest leaves erect, lanceolate-ovate; upper surface sulcate, finely wrinkled when dry, concolorous, yellowish green, usually glabrous; lower surface densely covered in glistening appressed tomentum, usually silvery when fresh but buff in dried specimens, midrib prominent and purple; tip acute; margins entire, recurved; base usually cordate; petiole up to 6 cm long, purple. S heath up to 70 x 25 mm, purple, clad in floccose, white hairs. Scape purple, clad in floccose, white hairs, up to 250 mm long; bracts several in upper part, erect, linear; monocephalous. Ray florets c. 40, ligulate, the limb linear, white. Disc florets c. 60, 5 mm long, funneliform, yellow, tube with eglandular biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform-cylindric, obscurely grooved, 3-5 mm long, hairs scattered to dense in upper half; hairs short, appressed, bifid. Pappus unequal, 5-6 mm long, of 25-30 barbellate bristles.

Similar Taxa

This species is readily distinguished from the other Celmisia of the C. coriacea complex by the combination of purple sheaths and stiff, cordate leaf laminas lacking a pellicle. From those species Given (1980) aligned it with the north Westland endemic C. morganii from which he distinguished it by the shorter leaves (up to 130 cf. 150 mm long in C. morganii); by the leaf lamina rigid and erect rather than flaccid; by the upper lamina surface coloured yellowish green rather than dark green; and by the finely wrinkled rather than sulcate lamina surface when dry.


November - February

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Celmisia rutlandii is one of the few Celmisia that is easily grown in most climates though it dislikes high humidity. Best grown in a moist, free draining soil, within some afternoon shade.


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 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.

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 2 Jun 2014