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Celmisia spectabilis (cotton daisy)

Cotton daisy is one of the more widespread species in the mountainous areas of New Zealand.
Cotton daisy flowers

Celmisia spectabilis photographed at Durham University Botanic Garden.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Celmisia spectabilis Hook.f.

Common name: 

cotton daisy, common mountain daisy, puakaito

Conservation status: 

Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Alpine and subalpine tussock grassland, herbfields and fellfields; up to 1,800 m above sea level.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, fibre.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Celmisia

About this species

Celmisia is one of the most characteristic plants of the New Zealand mountains, and Joseph Hooker described 13 species of this genus in The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. He later described the genus in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine as ‘one of the most beautiful of the New Zealand flora’ with many ‘extremely handsome’ species.

Celmisia spectabilis is one of the more widespread species in the mountainous areas of New Zealand, where it is commonly known as cotton daisy. Joseph Hooker described it in 1844, in the first volume of his Flora Antarctica. The specimens he studied were collected by the English botanist John Bidwill in 1839 on Mt Tongariro, on New Zealand’s North Island.

The genus Celmisia was established in 1825 based on the Australian species C. longiflora. Of the 65-70 species now known, around 60 occur in New Zealand, and the remainder are from south-east Australia.


Aster spectatissimus, Celmisia ruahinensis, Celmisia spectabilis var. albomarginata, Celmisia spectabilis var. angustifolia, Elcismia spectabilis.


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