Leptinella pyrethrifolia var. pyrethrifolia


Leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
pyrethrifolia: pyrethrum-leaved

Common Name(s)

None known

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Leptinella pyrethrifolia (Hook.f.) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb var. pyrethrifolia



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 pyrethrifolia Hook.f., C. pyrethrifolia Hook.f. var. pyrethrifolia


Endemic. North Island from Ruahine Ranges south. South Island from Marlborough and Nelson to southern Canterbury.


Subalpine to alpine (600-2000 m a.s.l.), usually along stream and river banks, at the base of talus and scree slopes, or on rocky ridges, or near and growing on rock outcrops


Gynodioecious creeping perennial herb forming circular patches up to 1 m wide. Rhizomes on soil surface or intertangled and lying on older, decaying rhizomes, stout, somewhat fleshy 1-3 mm diameter, dark green to purple-red, sparsely pilose hairy, becoming woody and glabrous with age; branches usually clustered with up to 6 radiating from around a flowering node; leaves clustered at apex, sometimes with older leaves up to 30 mm apart. Roots extensive, stout, up to 200 x 1 mm. Leaves 1-pinnatifid, 5-40 x 3-10 mm; blade 4-15 mm long, elliptic, obovate to broadly obovate coriaceous, fleshy, dark green, glabrous midrib not raised on ventral surface; pinnae 1-4 pairs up to 5 mm long, distant, obovate, obtuse; teeth 0(-1) on either side of larger pinnae, cut 1/3-1/2 across pinna, triangular. peduncles longer than leaves, 20-120 mm, dark green to purple-green, with 1-8 evenly spaced, small linear bracts, rarely ebracteate, sparsely pilose. Capitula fragrant, pistillate, staminate or bisexual (on different plants). Pistillate capitula 5-15 mm diameter, surface flat or slightly convex; involucre hemisperhical; involucral bracts 20-110, subequally 2- or more seriate, fleshy, oblong, dark green, with a single dark vein evident, glabrous, with wide brown scarious margins; florets 50-200, 2.75-4 mm long, straight, white, cream or lemon-yellow; corolla 2-4 times as long as wide, dentition equal. Staminate capitula 5-18 mm diameter, surface convex; involucre spreading or flat; involucral bracts 10-60; florets 40-300, occasionally with a dark stripe down the broader part of the corolla. Bisexual capitula intermediate, numbers of pistillate and pistillate florest varying from plant to plant. Cypsela 2.3 x 1 mm, golden-brown, compressed, biconvex, slightly wrinkled.

Similar Taxa

Allied to L. pectinata (Hook.f.) D.G.LLoyd et C.J.Webb with which it is perhaps most similar to subsp. willcoxii (Cheeseman) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb from which it differs by its ecology, overall larger stature, broader, wider leaves, and usually white to cream (sometimes lemon-yellow) capitula. L. pyrethrifolia var. pyrethrifolia is cytologically distinct having 2n = 156, 208 rather than 2n = 52, 104 found in L. pectinata. L. pyrethrifolia var. linearifolia (Cheeseman) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb is easily distinguished from var. pyrethrifolia, it has linear leaves (rarely with an apical lobing), dark brown seeds, and is confined to ultramafic substrates in the Red Hills, upper Wairau Valley.


November - February

Flower Colours



December - April

Propagation Technique

Easy from rooted pieces, like full sun with a damp root run. Excellent in a pot. The large white, cream or pale yellow, sweetly scented capitula are very attractive.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 156, 208

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Leptinella pyrethrifolia var. pyrethrifolia Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=918  (Date website was queried)


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

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.


This page last updated on 23 Nov 2018