Horticulture Heading


Book cover - Alpine Plants of New ZealandAlpine Plants
of New Zealand


Celmisia semicordata
Mountain Daisy / Cotton Plant / Tikumu


Celmisia semicordataReproduced from
Alpine Plants of New Zealand
ISBN 0 7900 0525 5
by kind permission of the author, Lawrie Metcalf and Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd

Publication or other use of images or descriptive text on these pages is unauthorised unless written permission is obtained from the author and publisher. Appropriate acknowledgement of the publication Alpine Plants of New Zealand must always be given.


  • A robust herbaceous plant forming large rosettes, or bold clumps of silvery-green, sword-shaped leaves.
  • Leaves: 30-60 cm long by 4-10 cm wide, stiff and of a leathery texture with the upper surface silver or silvery-green, the undersurface white.
  • Flowers: The stout flower stem is up to 50 cm long and the flower heads are 4-10 cm in diameter.

In addition to the typical form, two subspecies exist:

  • ssp. stricta: Has narrower and more rigid leaves with heavily rolled margins; their upper surfaces are also very silvery.
  • ssp. aurigens: The upper surfaces of the leaves are varying shades of gold.

Celmisia semicordataDistribution & Habitat

  • South Island, usually in subalpine to low-alpine regions. 600-1400 metres.
  • Common in snow-tussock grassland, herbfields and open subalpine scrub.
  • Typical form: Occurs throughout the higher rainfall regions from Nelson to South Canterbury and northern Fiordland. Sporadic in Nelson and northern Westland.
  • ssp. stricta: is restricted to the mountains of western Otago and adjacent Southland to the Takitimu Range.
  • ssp. aurigens: Occurs in Central and eastern Otago, with outlying populations in south-eastern Otago, and in Southland on the Garvie Mountains.


  • Identification: In all of its forms this is an outstanding plant which should be immediately recognised, even if not in flower.
  • Flowering: Between December and January, depending on altitude.


Web-notes: Alpine Garden Links

On this site

Reproduced from Alpine Plants of New Zealand:

Also see the article by Raymond Mole on:
New Zealand Alpine Plants: A Challenge for Growers


NZAGSExternal Links

New Zealand Alpine Garden Society


More Plant Profiles

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

© 2000–2022 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
Last updated: March 1, 2021