This species has often been erroneously called Celmisia coreacea in the literature[
Celmisia coriacea auct.
Celmisia flaccida Cockayne
Celmisia martini Buchanan
Common Name: Large Mountain Daisy
Celmisia semicordata is a robust, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a more or less woody, branched rootstock. It produces one to many tufts of leathery leaves up to 60cm long and 10cm wide on thick pseudostems around 10cm long, and spreads at the roots, often forming large clumps[
The fibres from the leaves were once used to make waterproof garments and other clothing. The plant was also used by the Maori as a medicine. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
New Zealand - South Island
Montane to subalpine grassland, herbfield, fellfield throughout South Island; occasional in coastal and lowland stations[
]. Among tall tussock grasslands especially on wetter sites[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Celmisia semicordata grows best in a cool, maritime climate with warm but not hot summers and fairly mild winters. The plant is believed to be reliably cold tolerant at temperatures down to around -10°c, perhaps lower[
Grows best in a sunny position in a low to moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but freely draining, lime-free soil[
]. Requires a position sheltered from cold, drying winds[
Two different clones are generally required to produce fertile seed.
Large clumps will benefit from dividing, as they can begin to degenerate in the centre, especially if conditions are damp and there is limited air movement..
A good substitute for tobacco, and for relieving asthma[
Leaves have a fine, soft lint like tissue that can be used for dressing wounds[
This species is one of the first to invade overgrazed pastures, disturbed land etc. It has potential for use as a pioneer in restoring native land[
The fibres from the leaves were once often used to make waterproof garments and other clothing.
The downy hairs (tomentum) on the underside of the leaves can be peeled from the leaves and attached in rows to a fibre underlay in order to create a raincape. The soft down can also be worked into the material in order to make a garment waterproof[
The leaves were packed into leggings and shin protectors for warmth and to protect against thorny plants[
Kew's Economic Botany Collection includes a unique Maori cloak woven from the leaves of Celmisia (from a related species, Celmisia semicordata ). The hanging leaves are practical, draining off rain drops, but are also decorative and reminiscent of the famous feather cloaks of Maori culture[
The plant has a large amount of fibrous material on the back of the leaves and might be of value in the manufacture of paper[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Much of the seed is often infertile, especially if only one clone is being grown[
Division of the rootstock[