Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
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.
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: DP
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North and South Islands, Mount Hikurangi south to Dunsdale.
Coastal to Low-alpine (up to 1400 m.a.s.l.) stream-sides, wet and shady banks or depressions, mixed tussock-scrub and grassland.
Large, tufted tussock forming clumps as single or several plants up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves 2-3-pinnate, glaucous or greyish green, flaccid, up to 1.5 m long; margins serrulate-crenulate, tapering to pungent apex approximately 5 mm long. Sheath up to 20 cm or more long, approximately 7 cm at base. Stipules 3-1-foliolate, central leaflet stout, 30-100 mm long with sheaths up to 50 x 20 mm. Petioles ribbed, up to approximately 350 mm x 15 mm, smooth; petiolules up to 100 mm long; lower internodes approximately 50 mm long. Primary pinnae up to 200 mm x 4-5 mm; secondary pinnae up to 200 mm x 4 mm; terminal leaflet up to 450 mm long (sometimes not developed). Flowering stems of male plants strongly ribbed, 1.5-2 m x 7 cm. Inflorescences up to approximately 40 cm long, narrow-oblong, tapering. Bracts numerous, starting from near base of stem; sheaths yellow, 50-120 mm x 4 mm; stipules pinnate to simple, up to 50 mm long; lamina 3-1-pinnate, of lower bracts up to 40 cm long, not reflexed. Umbels exceeding bracts, on rather slender peduncles bearing umbellules near base and at apex; involucral bracts linear. Flowering stems of female plants up to 2 m tall; bracts partly concealing umbels; involucral bracts narrow-lanceolate, approximately 8 mm long; inflorescence generally similar to that of male, but denser. Fruit approximately 6-9.5 mm long, mericarps with 3-4(-5) wings.
Aciphylla squarrosa var. squarrosa may be mistaken for an immature smaller example of this species, generally only 1m tall.
November - January
December – February (-June)
Winged schizocarps are dispersed primarily by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
aciphylla: From the Latin acicula ‘needle’ and the Greek phyllum ‘leaf’, meaning needle-leaf.
glaucescens: Becoming glaucous
Dawson & LeComte suggest this species is part of the group with clear juice.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Allan (1961), Mark (2012) and Webb & Simpson (2001).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 1. Wellington: Government Printer. pg. 482.
Dawson, J.W. LeComte, J.R. 1978. Research on Aciphylla - a progress report. Tuatara 23: pg. 49-67.
Mark, A. F. 2012. Above the Treeline: A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand. Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson. pg. 140.
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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309
Webb, C. J. & Simpson, M. J. A. 2001. Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch: Manuka Press. pg. 46.