Celmisia spectabilis subsp. spectabilis
Common mountain daisy, cotton plant
Celmisia spectabilis var. angustifolia W. Martin; Celmisia spectabilis var. albomarginata W. Martin; Celmisia ruahinensis Colenso
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledonous composites
2n = 108
Current conservation status
The conservation 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). 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.
2012 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Endemic. North and South Islands: In the North Island from the Raukumara Range; South though the central volcanoes, Kaimanawa Mountains; Kaweka Range; north-west Ruahine Range and Tararua Range. In the South Island present in north-west Nelson and from northern Marlborough south to Rakaia River and Mathias River, Canterbury.
Alpine and subalpine grassland and herbfield rocky sites
Woody-based herb forming mats or cushions 0.2-1.0 m diameter; with branchlets arising from a usually hidden simple or multicipital stock. Living leaves in rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole forming a cushion or mat. Leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudostem. Leaf lamina 30-180 × 3-30 mm, (ratio of length to width 3.7-11); coriaceous, usually lanceolate-oblong to narrowly ovate; upper surface shining and sulcate: lower surface densely covered in soft felted pale buff to brown tomentum, midrib distinct; tip acute; margins entire and recurved, occasionally minutely toothed, with the lamina base distinctly angled; sheath green to deep purple. Petiole thin with evident veins. Scape densely clad in floccose white hairs, stout, up to 300 mm long, bracteate, monocephalous. Corolla of disc florets mostly glabrous, rarely hairy. Ray florets 40-100, ligulate, white. Disc florets 60-200, 5-9 mm long, funneliform: tube glabrous or with scattered uniseriate or biseriate hairs. Achene fusiform cylindric, grooved, 1.5-6.5 mm long, usually glabrous. Pappus hairs 5-9 mm long, barbellate.
Distinguished from Celmisia spectabilis subsp. lanceolata by the broader shorter leaves (70-240 × 9-30 mm cf. 30-180 × 3-30 mm in subsp. spectabilis), pale buff to brown rather than almost white tomentum, and angled rather than attenuate leaf base. The sheath of subsp. lanceolata is greenish rather than green to deep purple, and the achenes usually sparsely in hairs rather than mostly glabrous (a feature of subsp. spectabilis). Celmisia spectabilis subsp. lanceolata is allopatric from subsp. spectabilis being known only from the eastern and northern Wairarapa. From subsp. magnifica, subsp. spectabilis differs by the broader and shorter leaves (70-290 × 10-45 mm cf. 30-180 × 3-30 mm in subsp. spectabilis); and by the cuneate to cuneate-truncate lamina base. Celmisia spectabilis subsp. magnifica occurs to the south of the range of subsp. spectabilis from the Big Ben Range and Acheron Valley just north of Rakaia River, south to the Hunters Hills and Mount Studholme.
October - February
November - May
Easily grown from fresh seed. Celmisia spectabilis is one of the few Celmisia that is easily grown in most climates though it dislikes high humidity. Best grown in a moist, free draining soil, within some afternoon shade. Because it is highly variable some selection of wild forms suited to garden growing conditions is needed.
Pappate cypselae are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).
celmisia: Apparently named after Kelmis, one of Idaean Dactyls, a group of skilled mythical beings associated with the Mother Goddess Rhea in Greek mythology. Kelmis, whose name means ‘casting’, was a blacksmith and childhood friend of Zeus, son of Rhea and later king of the gods. In Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, Kelmis is described as offending Zeus who turned him into adamant so he was as hard as a tempered blade
Where To Buy
Occasionaly available from specialist native plant nurseries.
Description based on Given (1984)
References and further reading
Given, D.R. 1984: A taxonomic revision of Celmisia subgenus Pelliculatae section Petiolatae (Compositae—Astereae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 139-158.
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 11: 285-309