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, throughout wetter mountain regions, common in Fiordland, absent from Nelson.
Low-alpine (1100-1400 m.a.s.l.) favours permanently wet habitat within tussock-herbfield, often overlooked.
Variable sparse-leaved tufted herb, simple to branched leaves. Leaves pinnate, up to approximately 30 cm long. Sheaths approximately 50 x 10 mm, with pale membranous margins; stipules approximately 20 mm x 2 mm, tapering to pungent apex; petioles keeled, up to about 100 mm long, lower internodes approximately 30 mm long. Primary pinnae 2 pairs, up to 100 mm x 3 mm, sometimes with short accessory pinnule; margins thickened, smooth. Rarely some specimens have simple leaves and sometimes leaves are exstipulate. Flowering stems of male plants slender to rather stout, up to approximately 40 cm long including narrow inflorescence up to 20 cm long. Bract-sheaths approximately 40mm x 15 mm, thin; stipules up to 15 mm long, linear, pungent; lamina with up to 3 pairs of pinnae up to 15 mm long, terminal leaflet up to 20 mm long. Umbels on slender peduncles up to approximately 30 mm long; umbellules several, up to approximately 10 mm diameter, on filiform unequal rays. Flowering stems of female plants grooved, up to 90 cm x 5 mm including inflorescence about 20 cm long, Bracts erect, concealing umbels; sheaths approximately 40 mm x 10 mm, rather thick; stipules approximately 10 x 2 mm, narrowed to pungent apex; lamina of 1-2 pinnae approximately 30 mm long, terminal leaflet slightly longer. Umbellules few. Fruit approximately 5 mm long; mericarps 5-winged; vittae 1-2 per furrow, 2-4 commissural.
Differs from most other similar stature species by the large sheaths that almost entirely envelop the seeds. Mark (2012) suggests when not in fruit the irregular spaced joints on the leaves can be used to confirm an identification.
From the A. montana group, Dawson (1979), suggests in A. lyallii the petiole is concave compared to convex in the former; petiole margins are acute compared to rounded; leaves of young plants are simple compared to pinnate; adult leaves may remain simple compared to adult leaves never being simple.
December - January
December - 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.
lyallii: Named after David Lyall (1817-1895), 19th century Scottish naturalist and surgeon with the Royal Navy, who explored Antarctica, New Zealand, the Arctic and North America and was a lifelong friend of Sir Joseph Hooker.
In Allan (1961), it is suggested there is some confusion regarding specimens which have been collected as A. cuthbertiana, these are the proven to be the same species and then regarded as a synonym.
A. montana was initially treated as a synonym of A. lyallii, until being further researched and thoroughly described by Dawson (1979).
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. 477.
Dawson, J.W. 1979 Aciphylla montana Armstrong, A. lecomtei sp. nov., and related species. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 17:3, 339-351.
Mark, A. F. 2012. Above the Treeline: A Nature Guide to Alpine New Zealand. Craig Potton Publishing, Nelson. pg.148.
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