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.
2n = 22
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. South Island, central and western Otago, and south Westland.
Higher montane to sub-alpine (1000-1800 m.a.s.l.) herbfield to snow tussock-herbfield and fellfield, favouring rock crevices.
Small tufted plant up to approximately 25 cm tall including inflorescence. Leaf-sheaths 30-50 x 8-10 mm, thin; stipules leaflike, rather rigid, 50-60 x 5 mm, oblong, abruptly narrowed to acicular apex; petioles stiff, flat, coriaceous, up to 10 mm long. Pinnae 1 pair, approximate to terminal leaflet 35-65 x 3-4 mm, rigid, margins finely crenulate-serrulate, abruptly narrowed to pungent apex. Flowering stems of male plants 20-30 cm long including dense to open inflorescence approximately 80-150 mm long. Bract-sheaths up to approximately 15 mm long; stipules very narrow, spreading, pungent, approximately 10 mm long; lamina up to 20 mm long. Umbels about 10 mm diameter, on very slender rays; umbellules very small, on filiform rays. Flowering stems of female plants grooved, up to 30 cm long including dense inflorescence up to 15 cm long. Bract-sheaths approximately 10 x 5 mm, submembranous; stipules up to 20 mm long; lamina approximately 30 mm long. Umbels roughly enclosed in sheaths, on short rays; umbellules small, close-set, on very short rays. Fruit approximately 4 mm long; mericarps 3-5 winged.
December - January
January - March
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.
hectorii: Named after Sir James Hector, 19th century New Zealand geologist and botanist who was originally from Scotland
Dawson & LeComte suggest this species is part of the group with milky juice. They also suggest two other earlier described species A. poppelwellii and A. verticillata, both of which were described from one wild specimen, may have been this species which had been growing in varied environments.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Allan (1961).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 1. Wellington: Government Printer. pg. 472.
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. 144.
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