New Zealand marsh marigold, yellow caltha
Psychrophila novae-zelandiae (Hook.f.) W.A.Weber
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 = 48
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
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands from the main axial ranges of the North Island south.
Montane to alpine. Mostly in alpine flushes, seepages, around tarns and slow flowing streams. Also found seen in damp areas in open grassland and in similar sites in fellfield and herbfield.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
Glabrous, rhizomatous perennial of alpine flushes, seepages, bogs and stream sides. Plants forming a low turf with scapes 30-50(-180 mm) tall. Rhizomes stout, white, fleshy. Leaves radical, clustered; petiole up to 100 mm long, slender, grooved, expanded to form a membranous sheathing base. Lamina 8-25 × 4-12 mm, dark green (sometimes centrally blotched and/or marked with bronze), ovate-oblong to oblong, base 2-lobed, subcordate, apex deeply emarginate; margins slightly sinuate to entire; lobes upturned and ± appressed to lamina, almost to midsection of lamina. Scape solitary, short, 1-flowered, finally up to 180 mm long. Sepals 5-7, 10.0-30.0 × 1.8-3.0 mm, pale yellow, 3-nerved, linear-subulate, attenuate. Stamens 15-20; carpels 6-12, ovate in outline, 4-5 mm long; style stout, c.2 mm long. Ripe heads 12-18 mm diameter. Seeds 2-5 per follicle, 1.2- 2.0 mm long, glossy red-brown to dark purple brown, ovate to broadly ovate, or elliptic ovate.
Only reliably distinguished from other, small, alpine Ranunculus when flowering. From Caltha obtusa readily distinguished when flowering by the linear-subulate yellow rather than oblong-obovate white flowers, and vegetatively by the leaf margins which are shallowly sinuate to entire rather than crenate. Both C. obtusa and C. novae-zelandiae are easily distinguished from the uncommon, naturalised marsh marigold (C. palustris) by their much smaller size, turf-forming growth habit, ecology, and features of the foliage and flowers.
September - December
December - March
Difficult. Can be grown in a pot but needs to be kept moist, free of bryophytes and algal growth. Needs plenty of light but resents high temperatures and humidity
caltha: From the Greek kalathos ‘goblet’, refers to the form of the flower
novae-zelandiae: Of New Zealand
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
New Zealand plants had long been placed in the genus Caltha, they were then referred to Psychrophila, a decision which was over-ruled on the basis of a detailed study by Schuettpelz & Hoot (2004).
Factsheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (28 March 2012). Description by P.J. de Lange.
References and further reading
Schuettpelz, E.; Hoot, S.B. 2004: Phylogeny and biogeography of Caltha (Ranunculaceae) based on chlroroplast and nuclear DNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 91(2): 247-253.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Caltha novae-zelandiae Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/caltha-novae-zelandiae/ (Date website was queried)