Leptinella atrata subsp. atrata


Leptinella: From the Greek word leptos (meaning slender, thin or delicate), referring to the ovary
atrata: From the Greek ater 'black'

Common Name(s)

Black scree button 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


Leptinella atrata (Hook.f.) D.G.Lloyd et C.J.Webb subsp. atrata



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs - Composites


Cotula atrata Hook.f., C. atrata Hook.f. subsp. atrata


Endemic. South Island, inland and easterly from North Canterbury to Northern Otago


Subalpine to alpine (> 1000 m a.s.l.) in open, mobile, sparsely vegetated screes.


Fleshy, monoecious, perennial herb producing 1 or more summer green leaf tufts amongst mobile scree. Rhizomes ascending, at or close to rock surface when young, becoming deeply buried with age, up to 10 mm long, thick, very fleshy, pale or pinkish-red, sparsely short-hairy, glabrate; branches often in clusters of up to 4 diverging from a flowering node and the nodes immediately behind, most of these dying in the first season, leaves usually crowded around rhizome apex, sometimes up to 25 mm apart. Roots numerous, fleshy, very long, extensively branching, thick up to 2 mm diameter. leaves 2-pinnatifid, 20-80 x 5-13 mm; blade 15-60 mm long, obovate, coriaceous and fleshy, grey-green tinged with red, especially on the primary and secondary axes, sparsely pilose hairy, midrib not raised on ventral surface; pinnae 8-15 pairs, cut to rhachis, proximal pinnae distant, distal ones overlapping, broadly elliptic and divided, reducing to distant oblong simple proximal pinnae; secondary pinnae 0-9 per pinna, equally on distal and proximal sides, cut to midrib of pinna, oblong or obovate, with rounded apices, upturned, occasionally with 1-2 small lobes on either side. Peduncles scarcely longer than leaves, 30-120 mm, stout, fleshy, pilose hairy with 4-10 evenly spaced bracts; lowermost bracts deeply divided, scarcely smaller than leaves, reducing evenly to simple, oblong or shallowly divided uppermost bracts. Capitula 5-13 mm diameter, surface convex; involucre hemispherical; involucral bracts unequally 2-3-seriate, overtopped by mature florets, grey-green tinged pink or red, more or less pilose hairy, outer bracts exceeding florets, thick, pinnatifid with up to 6 pairs of oblong lobes on sides, gradually changing to thinner, simple obovate inner involucral bracts whose margins are finely scarious; receptacle convex; pistillate florets 100-240 in several rows, 3.25-3.75 mm long, straight, very dark red to almost black; corolla 5 times as long as wide, teeth conspicuous, equal and diverging; staminate florets equal in number. Stigmas of pistillate and staminate florets not exserted far beyond corolla mouth, retracting into corolla tube at anthesis. Cypsela 1.8-2.8 x 0.8-1 mm, slightly compressed, pale brown or dark brown, deeply wrinked when mature

Similar Taxa

Differs from L. atrata subsp. luteola (D.G.Lloyd) D.G.Lloyd et C.Webb by the dark red almost black rather than yellow flowers, leaves whose distal pinnae overlap rather than not and whose secondary pinnae are upturned rather than held flat. Differs from L. dendyi (Cockayne) D.G.Lloyd et C.Webb by the smaller capitula (up to 13 cf 20 mm), dark red to almost black rather than yellow with red-tipped florets, convex rather than flat receptacle, and monoecious rather than gynodioecious flowers.


November - January

Flower Colours

Black,Red / Pink


January - April

Propagation Technique

Difficult - should not be removed from the wild


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 52

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Papery cypselae are dispersed by wind and possibly attachment (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 31 August 2006. Description from Lloyd (1972) - as Cotula atrata subsp. atrata.

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.

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 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 3 Jun 2015