Celmisia spedenii


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
spedenii: Named after James Speden who was a New Zealand explorer

Common Name(s)

Speden's Mountain 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
2009 - RR


Celmisia spedenii G.Simpson



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. West Dome and Livingston Range


Montane to alpine. An ultramafic endemic of sparsely vegetated rock strewn ground, fell field and rock outcrops.


Woody-based perennial herb arising from a multicipital stock and forming small to large mats up to 1 m diameter. Leaf lamina linear, rigid, often curved; current seasons leaves soon becoming reflexed; 40.0-120.0 x 1.3-3.8 mm; upper surface corrugated, clad in persistent silvery pellicle; lower surface clad in cream appressed tomentum; margins entire, recurved but not right to midrib; tip acute and usually acicular with short hairs. Leaf sheath up to 35(-50) mm long, membranous, greenish or occasionally reddish, clad in a pellicle. Scape 100-150 x c.3 mm; bracts numerous, up to 35 mm long, densely white tomentose. Involucral bracts erect, linear-subulate, acute, up to 15 mm long, silvery- grey with white arachnoid hairs, venation simple. Receptacle obconic, surface alveolate. Ray florets up to 20 mm long, limb narrow, linear-lanceolate and glabrous, tube narrow and glabrous. In disc florets, tube gradually narrowed from apex to base, glabrous; stamen tip acute, anther tails short; style bifid, arms differentiated into a lower paralled- sided papillose portion about equal to the triangular appendage which bears short collecting hairs. Pappus bristles unequal, c. 30-35 in number, 5-6 mm long with closely spaced, short teeth. Achenes 3.0-4.5 mm long, fusiform, ribbed, glabrous.

Similar Taxa

Could be confused with Celmisia markii which is a species of south Westland and Fiordland that is not known from ultramafic habitats, which differs from C. spedenii by its straight rather than curved leaves, with obtuse rather than acicular leaf tips. The involucral bracts of C. markii are glabrate, tawny-brown while those of C. spedenii are silver-grey and tomentose


December - February

Flower Colours



December - February

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Can be grown from seed but regular applications of magnesium to thrive.


A naturally uncommon ultramafic endemic that is localy abundant in its few known locations.

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 Lee and Given (1984)

References and further reading

Lee, W.G.; Given, D.R. 1984: Celmisia spedenii G. Simpson, an ultramafic endemic, and Celmisia markii, sp. nov., from southern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 585–592.

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