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 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: DP, EF, PD
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: DP, EF
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: EF, DP
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Critical
Endremic. South Island, Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago. Formerly known from the upper Waitaki River where it appears to be extinct.
A species of dry open ground, often amongst scabweed (Raoulia spp.) matts.
Tiny, tufted, rossett-forming, annual herb 1.5-2 cm tall. Leaves 4-8 x 3-10 mm, grey-green, finely woolly-hairy, spathulate in outline, trilobed, each lobe divided 2-3 times, into oblong segments. Flowers solitary, unstalked or on short stalks 2-5 mm long. Sepals 4-5 mm, linear-oblanceolate, woolly beneath. Petals yellow, as long as sepals, linear-oblanceolate. Achenes (fruits) 20-30, 3-4 x 1.5 mm, woolly-hairy; keel flattened, triangular, beak 1-1.5 mm, erect, straight and slender, tapering into a spine.
October - December
November - March
Spiny achenes are dispersed by attachment and possibly granivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.
At serious risk of extinction. The open scabweed habitats this species requires have, following the near demise of rabbits (as a consequence of the release of Rabbit calcivirus) been replaced by taller introduced and indigenous grasses. These grasses have all but replaced the relatively open habit Ceratocephala requires, so quickly that whole populations have disappeared within one growing season. If this trend continues unchecked then Ceratocephala pungens is likely to become extinct within the next 5-10 years.
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
This unusual species is the only southern hemisphere representative of an otherwise northern hemisphere genus.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 September 2003. Description adapted from Garnock-Jones (1984) - see also de Lange et al. (2010).
References and further reading
de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Christchurch, Canterbury University Press. 471pp.
Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1984: Ceratocephalus pungens (Ranunculaceae), a new species from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 22: 135-137
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Ceratocephala pungens Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/ceratocephala-pungens/ (Date website was queried)