Celmisia glabrescens


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
glabrescens: becoming hairless


Celmisia glabrescens Petrie



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites


Endemic. New Zealand. Stewart island - known only from the type collection a suite of specimens gathered from the mouth of the Freshwater River, Patterson's Inlet (Petrie 1915; Allan 1961)


Collected from 'meadows' bordering a river growing in 'sandy soil' (Petrie 1815)

Similar Taxa

Celmisia glabrescens is superficially similar to Celmisia durietzii and Allan (1961) aligned it with C. prorepens and C. densifliora on account of its stoloniferous growth habit

Flower Colours



Celmisia glabrescens was not accessed by the last indigenous vascular plant threat listing panel (de Lange et al. 2013). Based on current information it probably merits listing as 'Taxonomically Indeterminate / Data Deficient'.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Celmisia glabrescens is known only from the type collection. Although accepted by Allan (1961) it was not treated in the subsequent vegetation and flora accounts of Stewart Island (see Wilson 1987), and Druce (1993) in his unpublished indigenous vascular plant checklist records this species as 'doubtful'. For this reason this species has been overlooked by the NZPCN listings. It is reinstated here if only because no formal taxonomic publication discussing its status has been published since it was described by Petrie (1915) and accepted by Allan (1961). This species highlights a key issue, which is that as a genus Celmisia is in critical need of a comprehensive, modern taxonomic revision.


Fact Sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 2 January 2014.

References and further reading

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

de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington.

Druce AP 1993. Indigenous vascular plants of New Zealand. Ninth revision. Unpublished
checklist held at Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand.

Petrie, D. 1915: Descriptions of New Native Phanerogams, with other Short Notices. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 47: 48-59.

Wilson, H.D. 1987:vascular plants of Stewart Island (New Zealand).  New Zealand Journal of Bptany Supplement: 81-131

This page last updated on 2 Jan 2015