Aciphylla congesta


Aciphylla: From the Latin acicula 'needle' and the Greek phyllum 'leaf', meaning needle-leaf.
congesta: crowded

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 congesta Cheeseman



Brief Description

Groups of blunt-leaved small spiky green clumps with ball-like white flowers on a long fleshy stalk

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. South Island; south Westland, western Otago, north-western Southland, Fiordland


High rainfall fellfield, particularly where snow accumulates and exposed sites. 1200 - 2000 m a.s.l.


Tufted herb forming clumps to 30 cm diam. Rosettes multiple. Leaves many, soft, striate, 1-pinnate; sheath thin, with hyaline margin, to 6 cm long, tapering from 20 mm to 7 mm wide; stipules c. 6.5 cm long x 5 mm wide, linear-oblong, abruptly narrowing to acicular tip; petioles to 8 cm long, flat, sometimes vestigial; internodes (inter-pinna spacing) to 10 mm long; primary pinnae in 2-3 pairs, laminae of pinna to c. 6 cm long x 5 mm wide, abruptly narrowing to pungent apex. Male flowering stem stout, 30 cm x c. 15 mm wide; lower bract sheaths broad, to 25 x 15 mm tapering to long pungent tips; lower bract lamina and stipules leaf-like. Umbels 6-12, crowded, forming a globose head c. 12 cm diam.; primary rays stout, c. 4 cm long, +/- whorled, subtended by whorl of bracts; umbellules several, crowded, to 2 cm diam., on slender rays c. 5 mm long. Female flowering stem similar, forming a globose head to 15 cm diam.; primary rays grooved, c. 60 mm long x 3 mm wide; involucral bracts whorled; bract sheath 10 mm long x 7 mm wide, submembranous; bract stipules and lamina to 4 cm long; umbellules to 3 cm diam., rays many, crowded. Fruit of two mericarps; mericarps narrowly elliptic to elliptic, 4.0-5.2 mm, with (3-4-)5 even narrowly winged ribs, 4 low indistinct ribs on vittae, vittae largely obscured

Similar Taxa

Similar to other clump forming blunt-leafed species such as A. crosby-smithiana which has a larger sheath and wider leaflets and A. spedeni which has smaller simple leaves and the leaflets arranged fan-like

Flower Colours


Chromosome No.

2n = 22

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Winged schizocarps are dispersed primarily by wind (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy


Description adapted from Allan (1961), Mark and Adams (1995) and Webb and Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington

Mark, A.F; Adams, N.M. 1995. New Zealand alpine plants, 2nd Edition. Godwit Publishing, Auckland

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

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

This page last updated on 29 Apr 2014