Leptinella maniototo


Leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
maniototo: Named after the Maniototo Plain in Central Otago, from the contracted Maori name manaio-o-toto. This name come from mania 'plain' and toto 'blood', meaning plain of blood. The location name is spelled variously maniototo and maniatoto, the latter being approved by the New Zealand Geographic Board.

Common Name(s)

Maniototo, Maniototo button daisy

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Data Deficient
2004 - Not Threatened


Leptinella maniototo (Petrie) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb



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


Cotula maniototo Petrie


Endemic. North Island, Lake Wairarapa only (where now believed extinct), South Island, mainly eastern from southern Marlborough to Central Otago and Lake Te Anau


Lowland to upper montane at least (0-1000 m a.s.l.), growing around lake, slow flowing stream, tarn, and kettlehole margins, and also in damp seepages and hollows within tussock grassland. It favours ephemerial wetlands and sites subject to seasonal flooding and drying episodes.


Monoecious, inconspicuous, perennial or annual herb forming loose patches or low matted turfs around tarn, lake, seepage or stream margins. Rhizomes at or near soil surface, slender up to 1 mm diameter, usually hidden within leaves, initially somewhat villous, maturing wiry and glabrous; branches similar to short shoots; leaves crowded, in two rows, more or less horizontal with up to 10 clustered at apex, imbricate ot spaced up to 4 mm apart; short shoots at nodes, initially bearing a few reduced leaves, often converting to rhizomes with distant leaves. Sometimes short shoots forming small bulbil like turions, these shedding, givign rise to further plants. Roots numerous, slender, up to 0.5 mm diameter, white. Leaves variable, 2-25 x 2 mm long grass-green to purple-red; blade up to 20 mm long, 1-pinnatifid, lanceolate or oblong, or during winter (or sometimes during summer) simple, linear and 0.5 mm wide, membranous, glabrous or covered in dense to sparse silky white villous hairs; midrib not raised on ventral surface; pinnae 0, or as 1-2 minute lobes, or as up to 6 distinct pairs, distant, subequal, shorter than terminal lobe, linear, much narrower than rhachis, edentate. Peduncles very short up to 1 mm long, ebracteate. Capitula subsessile, 2-3 mm diameter; surface convex; involucre campanulate; phyllaries 10, subequally uni- or biseriate, green or purple-red, oblong, membranous, sparsely to densely villous, with a wide brown, reddish-brown or purple-green scarious margin; pistillate florets 15-20 in 1-2 rows, 2 mm long, straight, pale yellow and red-tipped; corolla 4x as long as wide, dentition equal; staminate florets equal in number. Cypsela 1 x 0.3 mm, initially green maturing chocolate brown, biconvex, slightly compressed, soft and unwrinkled.

Similar Taxa

None - the narrow linear leaves bearing up to 6 pairs of simply, linear edentate pinnae, heterophyllus habit (distinct winter and summer foliage types), and vivaporous nature of at least some populations are unique to this species. It has no obvious close relatives within the New Zealand members of the genus.


November - February

Flower Colours



December - May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and fresh seed. This species makes an unusual and singular plant for a rockery or damp spot. However, it can prove short-lived and dislikes too much competition.


Not threatened throughout much of its South Island range but it has apparently gone extinct in the North Island at its sole known location Lake Wairarapa. This species, like many diminutive plants of ephemeral wetlands is extremely susceptible to being out-competed by taller and more aggressive introduced grasses and flat weeds which are now spreading throughout much its habitat. To gauge this decline it is recommended that some South Island populations spanning its range be selected and monitored.

Chromosome No.

2n = 52

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Papery cypselae are dispersed by wind and possibly attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally sold by specialist native plant nurseries.

Taxanomic notes

Not very commonly grown. However, the species epithet has stuck as "Maniototo" a misnomer used for the diverse array of Leptinella hybrids and forms of L. traillii (Kirk) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb grown widely for Bowling Greens - all under the mistaken belief that they are L. (Cotula) maniototo


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 31 August 2006. Description from Lloyd (1972) - as Cotula maniototo.

References and further reading

Lloyd, D.G. 1972: A revision of the New Zealand, Subantarctic, and South American species of Cotula, section Leptinella. New Zealand Journal of Botany 10: 277-372.

Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Reed Publishing. Auckland.

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 5 Jun 2015