Aster spectatissimus F.Muell.
Celmisia robusta Buchanan
Celmisia ruahinensis Colenso
Elcismia spectabilis B.L.Rob.
Common Name: Cotton Daisy
Celmisia spectabilis is a robust, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a more or less woody, branched rootstock. It produces one to many tufts of narrow, leathery leaves up to 30cm long and 2cm wide on thick pseudostems around 10cm long, and spreads at the roots, often forming large colonies[
The fibres from the leaves, although not so commonly used by weavers in New Zealand today, were once used to make waterproof garments and other clothing. The plant was also used by the Maori as a medicine. It is often grown as an ornamental.
New Zealand - North and South Island
Alpine and subalpine tussock grassland, herbfields and fellfields; at elevations up to 1,800 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Celmisia spectabilis 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[
The plant can occupy vast areas of hill country and is an early colonizer of disturbed sites[
]. It has potential for use as a pioneer species when restoring native land[
The fibres from the leaves, although not so commonly used by weavers in New Zealand today, 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[