Cotula plumosa Hook.f., Cotula plumosa (Hook.f.) Hook.f.
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites
2n = 52
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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR, SO
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: SO, IE
2004 | Range Restricted
Indigenous. Auckland, Campbell and Antipodes Islands. Also present on Macquarie, Kerguelen, Marion and Crozet Islands
Primarily coastal, where it grows in saltmarshes, wet depressions, on bare ground in seal haulouts and sea bird nesting grounds, on exposed peat, and amongst boulders. It occasionally extends well inland, where it grows around tussocks - often near albratross colonies.
Monoecious, short creeping, somewhat variable perennial, initially rather fleshy, soon hard and more or less woody, glabrous or finely hairy, hairs when present a unform covering of tangled, lanate hairs; branches single or clustered around flowering nodes; leaves 4-8, tufted around shoot apices, older ones spaced up to 40 mm apart. Short shoots usually absent, if present sparse. Roots confined to ooder stems up to 1 mm diameter. Leaves variable in size and dissection, 1-2 pinnatifid, 50-200 x 10-60 mm; blade 40-120 mm long, light green, elliptic to broadly elliptic, rather soft, glabrous to finely villous, especially along rhachis, midrib not raised on ventral surface; pinnae 5-20 pairs, slightly overlapping, cut to rhachis, elliptic; tertiary pinnae 0-6, on outer margin of secondary pinnae, oblong or narrowly triangular; final divisions acute. Peduncles 60-120 mm, shorter than leaves, covered in dense, deciduous lanate hairs, usually ebracteate, bract if present simply or partially divided. Capitula 10 mm diameter; surface hemispherical; involucre hemispherical; involucral bracts 20, subequally biseriate, oblong, elliptic, green, thick, finely lanate hairy when young, margins (or apices only) bearing a prominent, broad, wide scarious band; pistillate florets 90-260, 3-6-seriate, 2.75 mm long, almost sraight, yellow-green; corolla twice as long as wide, dentition equal; staminate florets fewer or the same number. Cypsela 1.9 x 0.8 mm, golden-brown, obscurely 4-angled, not compressed, faintly and finely wrinkled.
The stout habit, thick, fleshy to subwoody rhizomes, light green finely divided, large and very soft, feathery leaves, and large green capitula borne on short peduncles serve to distinguish this distinctive subantarctic species from any other in the genus. It can however, be rather variable in its size depending on local conditions. L. plumosa is said to fomr hybrids with L. lanata Hook.f., L. potentillina F.Muell., and L. dispersa (D.G.Lloyd) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb subsp. dispersa, theonly other species of the genus with which it is sympatric in the New Zealand part of its range.
September - April
October - June
Papery cypselae are dispersed by wind and possibly attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Probably rather difficult to grow. It has been cultivated in the past within New Zealand but from all accounts rather unsuccessfully.
Not threatened. A narrow range, local endemic, common within its known habitats
leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 31 August 2006. Description from Lloyd (1972) - as Cotula plumosa
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.
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Leptinella plumosa Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/leptinella-plumosa/ (Date website was queried)