Leptinella squalida subsp. mediana
Cotula squalida subsp. mediana D.G.Lloyd
Vascular – Native
Herbs - Dicotyledonous 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 = 156, 208, 260
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. South and Stewart Islands, widespread and abundant
Coastal to alpine (0-2000 m a.s.l.), often found on river beds, cobble or sand beaches, in short tussock grassland, in alpine herbfields and sometimes in lowland wet depressions and ephemeral wetlands.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Dioecious, widely creeping, fast-growing perennial herb forming dense monospecific turfs or intermingled with other turf species. Rhizomes at or near soil surface, dark green to red-green, flexible, pilose hairy; branches usually single at flowering nodes; leaves in two rows, single at apex, 5-30 mm apart. Short shoots alternate on both sides of the rhizomes with distant leaves. Roots slender and weak, up to 0.8 mm diameter. Leaves 1-pinnatifid, 5-10(-20) x 3-20 mm; blade 4-6(-10) mm, yellow-green, yellow-red to purple-brown with basal 1/3-1/2 brown-pigmented and/or the proximal pinnae, elliptic or obovate, membranous, sparsely pilose hairy to moderately pilose hairy, midrib raised along majority of ventral surface; pinnae 6-20 pairs, oblong to elliptic; length greater than width, equidistant along blade, set at a wide angle to the blade and cut to rhachis; teeth usually present on pinnae with up to 10 per pinna, oblong to acute, acuminate. Peduncles borne on rhizomes, sparsely pilose hairy, usually longer than leaves, 10-60 mm, ebracteate or with 1 simple bract. Pistillate capitula 3-5 mm elongating to 10 mm diameter in fruit; surface convex; involucre urceolate; involucral bracts 15-40, subequally 3- or more seriate, green, broadly elliptic, somewhat villous, with a broad brown-tipped scarious margin; inner bracts elongating after anthesis to enclose subglobose fruiting head; florets 15-70, 2.2.5 mm long, yellow-green, curved, corolla slightly longer than wide, dentition unequal. Staminate heads 4-7 mm diameter; involucre hemispherical; involucral bracts 5-10, uni- or biseriate, not extending after anthesis; florets more numerous. Cypsela 1.9 x 0.9 mm, initially pale, chartaceous and wrinkled, maturing brown and smooth.
Differs from L. squalida Hook.f. subsp. squalida by its more divided leaves with all pinnae cut to rhachis, equidistant and set at a wide angle to the rhachis. It also differs cytologically with at least three different ctyotypes recognised (2n = 156, 208 and 260 cf. uniformly 2n = 260 in subsp. squalida). It is most likely to be confused with L. pusilla Hook.f. from which it differs by its rhizomes set above or near the soil surface, rather than deeply buried, the short shoots arising from both sides of, rather than from above the rhizome, the absence of scales on the rhizomes, and markedly less hairy leaves (in most populations anyway!).
August - February
October - April
Easy from rooted pieces. An excellent lawn cover, tolerant of extremes of sun, shade and moisture and human traffic
leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
Where To Buy
Commonly sold by most retail plant and specialist native plant nurseries.
Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (31 August 2006). Description from Lloyd (1972) - as Cotula squalida subsp. mediana.
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 squalida subsp. mediana Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/leptinella-squalida-subsp-mediana/ (Date website was queried)