Celmisia armstrongii


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
armstrongii: Named either after Joseph Francis Armstrong (1820-1902) or his son John Beattie Armstrong (1850-1926).

Common Name(s)

Armstrong's mountain daisy

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Celmisia armstrongii Petrie



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


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.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites




Endemic. South Island: From North-West Nelson (Heaphy-Gouland Downs area; Little Wanganui-Wangapeka; Mount Glasgow) south to near the head of Lake Wakatipu on Mount Bonpland. This species is most abundant west of the Main Divide.


Montane to alpine. In high rainfall areas where it can be common in wet grassland and herbfield.


Moderately stout woody-based herb with branchlets arising from a multicipital stock, usually hidden; living leaves in rosettes at the tips of branchlets, the whole forming irregular carpets, or less often clusters of 1-8 rosettes; leaf sheaths densely imbricate and compacted, forming a pseudo-stem. Leaf lamina 120-400 × l0-20 mm, coriaceous, erect when young but soon becoming patent, linear oblong; upper surface sulcate, bronze-green with a conspicuous orange-brown strip along the midrib, somewhat paler immediately outside this, pellicle bronze-yellow, obvious; lower surface densely covered in glistening appressed tomentum, midrib prominent; tip acute; margins entire, conspicuously recurved; base cuneate, petiole short. Sheath up to 80 × 25 mm, yellowish, clad in floccose white hairs. Scape densely clad in floccose white hairs, not as stout as in preceding species, up to 35 cm long; bracts several in upper half, erect, up to 60 mm long; monocephalous. Ray florets 100-120, ligulate, the limb narrow linear, white. Disc florets c.130, 7-8 mm long, funneliform, yellow, the tube sparsely eglandular biseriate hairy. Achenes fusiform to cylindric, grooved, 4-5 mm long, moderately to densely hairy; hairs short, appressed, bifid. Pappus unequal, up to 8 mm long, of c.40 barbellate bristles.

Similar Taxa

Distinguished from C. coriacea (a south-western South Island endemic) by the leaves which are < 20 mm wide


November - February

Flower Colours



January - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown in a shaded site, planted within a permanently moist, free draining, acidic soil. Dislikes humidity and will not tolerate drying out. Best grown from fresh seed which should be sown immediately or stratified in a fridge or freezer for 1-3 months


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 108

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Pappate cypselae are dispersed by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.



Description from Given (1980)

References and further reading

Given, D.R. 1980: A taxonomic revision of Celmisia coriacea (Forst.f.) Hook.f. and its immediate allies (Astereae-Compositae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 18: 127-140.

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 2009 Vol. 11 No. 4 pp. 285-309

This page last updated on 15 Aug 2014