Celmisia spectabilis subsp. lanceolata


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
spectabilis: notable
lanceolata: Lance-shaped

Common Name(s)

Common mountain daisy, cotton plant

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 spectabilis subsp. lanceolata (Hook.f.) D.R.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


Celmisia spectabilis var. lanceolata Hook. f.


Endemic. North Island. Eastern and North Wairarapa from Cape Palliser north to Castlepoint and Mt Kupukore.


Coastal to montane. Locally occurring at rocky sites on ridge crests and steep sided, craggy hills (locally known as taipo), in gorges, and descending to sea level at several locations. localities


Woody-based herb forming mats or cushions up to 1.5 m diameter; with branchlets arising from a usually hidden simple or multicipital stock. Living leaves in rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole forming a cushion or mat. Leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudostem. Leaf lamina 70-240 × 9-30 mm, (ratio of length to width ± 10); coriaceous, usually lanceolate-oblong to narrowly ovate; upper surface shining and sulcate: lower surface densely covered in soft felted almost tomentum, midrib distinct; tip acute; margins entire and recurved, occasionally minutely toothed, with the lamina base attenuate; sheath greenish. Petiole thin with evident veins. Scape densely clad in floccose white hairs, stout, up to 300 mm long, bracteate, monocephalous. Corolla of disc florets and achenes often with uniseriate and biseriate hairs, mostly hairy, rarely glabrous. Ray florets 40-100, ligulate, white. Disc florets 60-200, 5-9 mm long, funneliform: tube glabrous or with scattered uniseriate or biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform cylindric, grooved, 1.5-6.5 mm long, usually sparsely covered in bifid hairs, rarely galbrous. Pappus hairs 5-9 mm long, barbellate.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from Celmisia spectabilis subsp. spectabilis by the narrower, longer leaves (70-240 × 9-30 mm cf. 30-180 × 3-30 mm in subsp. spectabilis), almost white rather than pale buff to brown tomentum, and attenuate rather than angled leaf base. The sheath of subsp. lanceolata is greenish rather than green to deep purple, and the achenes usually sparsely in hairs rather than mostly glabrous (a feature of subsp. spectabilis). Celmisia spectabilis subsp. lanceolata is allopatric from subsp. spectabilis being known only from the eastern and northern Wairarapa. From subsp. magnifica, subsp. lanceolata differs by the cuneate to cuneate-truncate lamina base, and almost white rather than pale buff coloured tomentum. The leaf sheath is greenish rather than green to purple. Celmisia spectabilis subsp. magnifica occurs to the south of the range of subsp. spectabilis from the Big Ben Range and Acheron Valley just north of Rakaia River, south to the Hunters Hills and Mount Studholme.


October - April

Flower Colours



November - May

Propagation Technique

Of the three subspecies of Celmisia spectabilis, Celmisia spectabilis subsp. lanceolata is the most easily cultivated. It 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. Plants can be raised from division but are best grown from fresh seed.


A Naturally Uncommon, narrow range endemic that is abundant within its few known locations. It ode snot seem to be especially threatened by browsing animals. Insome places it is present in rough pasture and actively spreading.

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionaly available from specialist native plant nurseries


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.

This page last updated on 25 Sep 2013