Leptinella dispersa subsp. rupestris
Cotula dispersa subsp. rupestris D.G.Lloyd
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledonous composites
2n = 52
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, RR, RF, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Critical | Qualifiers: RF, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RF
2004 | Range Restricted
Endemic. North Island, in disjunct populations starting near Reef Point, then Karioitahi Gap (west of Waiuku), then in scattered, discontinuous, patches along the South Taranaki Coast to about Whanganui
Strictly coastal where it grows in damp hollows, sand depressions, cliff faces, on slumps and slip scars, and on the margins of coastal streams in permnanent turf or sites kept open by local conditions.
Dioecious, widely creeping, perennial herb forming loose patches or compact turf depending on local conditions. Rhizomes at or near soil surface, green, dark red-green or purple, pliant, sparsely villous; branches usually single at flowering nodes; leaves in two rows, single at apex, 5-10 mm apart. Short shoots alternate on both sides of rhziomes with distant leaves. Roots white, slender up to 0.3 mm diameter. Leaves 1-pinnatifid, variable in size, submembranous, 3-15 x 1.5-4 mm; lamina obovate to narrowly obovate, bright green, usually with the basal pinnae brown to red-brown pigmented, glabrous, midrib not raised on upper surface; pinnae 3-5 pairs, distant or distal ones overlapping, cut to rhachis, elliptic or broadly-elliptic; teeth absent or with 1-2 on larger pinnae or up to 5 on all pinnae, inconspicuous, confined to distal and outer margins, sometimes extending partly onto proximal margin, small, cut 1/3 across pinna, triangular, obtuse. Peduncles on rhizomes, short but equal to leaves in length,2-50 mm long, ebracteate, pilose-hairy. Captiula 1-2 mm diameter (pistillate capitula 3 mm in fruit); surface convex. Pistillate capitula involucre urceolate; involucral bracts 6-16 in 2 or more unequal rows, broadly elliptic, green, glabrescent, margins scarious, brown; inner involucral bracts extending in length to enclose the subglobose fruiting head; florets 10-26, 1-1.2 mm long, not exceeding involucral bracts, curved, yellow-green, corolla slightly longer than wide; with unequal teeth. Staminate capitula with hemispherical involucre; involucral bracts 4-8 in 1-2 subequal rows, not growing after anthesis; florets more numerous. Cypsela 1.3-1.6 x 0.6-0.8 mm, brown, slightly compressed, at first chartaceous maturing smooth.
L. dispersa subsp. rupestris (D.G.Lloyd) D.G.Lloyd et C.Webb differs from subsp. dispersa by its overall smaller size (leaves up to 15 mm long, pinnae in 3-5 pairs) and strictly dioecious habit.
September - December
September - April
Very easy from rooted pieces. The compact habit, and small, closely appressed foliage make it an ideal bowling green ground cover.
A local endemic of sporadic distribution, although this plant is unlikely to have ever been that common, extant populations are small, and many now seriously threatened due to coastal erosion and loss of habitat from weeds.
leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
rupestris: From the Latin rupes ‘rock, cliff’, meaning growing in rocky places
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 31 August 2006. Description from Lloyd (1972) - as Cotula dispersa subsp. rupestris.
References and further reading
Lloyd, D.G. 1972: A revision of the New Zealand, Subantarctic, and South American species of Cotula, section Leptinella. New Zealand Journal of Botany 10: 277-372.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Leptinella dispersa subsp. rupestris Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/leptinella-dispersa-subsp-rupestris/ (Date website was queried)