Aciphylla cartilaginea


Aciphylla: From the Latin acicula 'needle' and the Greek phyllum 'leaf', meaning needle-leaf.
cartilaginea: like cartilage

Common Name(s)

None known

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - RR


Aciphylla cartilaginea Petrie



Brief Description

Low thick-leaved orange-green spikey clumps on Stewart Island

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 other than Composites


Endemic. Stewart Island. Mt Rakeahua and Tin Range south to Smith's Lookout


Subalpine boggy grassland and herbfield


Low-growing cartilaginous-leaved herb. Rosettes single to several, closely-spaced. Leaves 6-9 cm long; pinnae stiff, usually in 2 pairs, 3-4 cm long x 2.5-3 mm wide, grooved; midrib conspicuous, broad, yellow; margins thick, obvious, yellow; apex pungent. Flowering stems to 20 cm tall but usually shorter particularly in male plants, appearing thick for size of plant, orange, umbels 5-6, crowded, more spreading in female plants and on obvious rays, in males flower barely exceeding bract sheath; sheaths broad. Fruit consisting of 2 mericarps; mericarps (3.0-)3.5-5.5 mm, mostly with 5 ribs and single internal vittae

Similar Taxa

Closest in similarity to A. kirkii of Central Otago which does not have such obvious thickened margins to the leaf and whose range does not overlap with A. cartilaginea





Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Description adapted from Allan (1961), Webb and Simpson (2001), Wilson (1996) and Wilson (1982).

References and further reading

Alla, H. H. (1961).Flora of New Zealand, Volume 1: Indigenous Tracheophyta - Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledons. Botany Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Wellington, New Zealand.

Webb, C.J. &  Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch

Wilson, H.D. 1996. Wild plants of Mount Cook National Park. Manuka Press, Christchurch

Wilson, H.D.1982. Stewart Island plants. Whitcoulls Ltd, Christchurch

This page last updated on 22 Aug 2013