Aciphylla dissecta


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

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 dissecta (Kirk) W.R.B.Oliv.



Brief Description

Higher-altitude spiky feathery tufts with clusters of white flowers on a thick 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. North Island; Tararua Ranges


Low alpine snow tussock grass-herbfield. Often hidden amongst tussocks unless flowering (or sat on). 1000-1600 m a.s.l.


Herb forming stout tufts to 30-40 cm tall in flower. Rosettes usually single. Leaves many, stiff, coriaceous, (2)-3-pinnate, to 30 cm long; sheath narrow, to 3 cm long x 3 mm wide; stipules almost filiforme, c. 10 mm long, sometimes forked, sharply pointed; petioles 10-15 mm long, inter-pinna spacing short; primary pinnae in 8-10 pairs, linear-oblong, c. 2-5 cm long; secondary pinnae further cut into several pungent, ascending pinnules to 25 mm long x 1-1.5 mm wide. Female flowering stem stout, grooved, c. 30 cm long x 1 cm wide; flowering stem bracts leaflike, lower bract sheaths c. 3 cm long x 5 mm wide, with scarious margins, lower bract stipules <10 mm long; bract lamina with segments to 3 mm wide. Inflorescence an open panicle; umbels 3-4 cm diam., peduncles distant, stout, spreading, c. 4 cm long; involucral bracts linear; rays several, to 1 cm long; umbellules c. 15 mm diam., on slender short rays. Fruit of two mericarps; mericarps narrowly oblong-elliptic to ovate-elliptic, narrowed to apex, (4.0-)4.5-6.0 mm, with 5 even narrowly winged ribs, vittae obscured

Similar Taxa

Most similar to A. divisa of southern Westland and western Fiordland, which has less divided leaves and also A. dieffenbachii of the Chatham Islands wich is usually a much larger plant found only on some of the Chatham Islands

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).


Description adapted from Allan (1961), Mark and Adams (1005) 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