Scientific Name:
Leptinella dioica Hook.f., Bot. Antarct. Voy. II. (Fl. Nov.-Zel.) Part I, 129 (1852)
  • Cotula dioica (Hook.f.) Hook.f., Handb. New Zealand Fl. 143 (1864)
  • = Cotula dioica var. crenatifolia Kirk, Stud. Fl. New Zealand 328 (1899)
  • = Cotula obscura Kirk, Stud. Fl. New Zealand 327 (1899)
  • Cotula dioica var. obscura (Kirk) Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 359 (1906)
  • = Cotula dioica subsp. monoica D.G.Lloyd, New Zealand J. Bot. 10: 319-320 (1972)
Vernacular Name(s):
shore cotula

A creeping, fleshy perennial herb. Rhizomes at or near soil surface, green or dark, flexible and ± pilose, becoming pale, wiry and glabrous if buried; branches uncommon, us. single at flowering nodes; leaves in two rows, single at the apex, 0.3-3.0 cm apart. Short shoots alternate on both sides of the rhizome, with up to 5 clustered leaves, rarely converted into rhizomes with distant leaves. Roots us. slender and weak, up to 0.8 mm diam. Leaves very variable in size, shape, and divisions, simple to incised-pinnatifid, occ. pinnatifid, 0.7-12.0 × 0.3-1.5 cm; blade 0.5-7.0 cm, narrowly to broadly obovate or elliptic, fleshy, green, or glaucous, us. without dark pigment, ± glabrous but dotted with sunken glandular hairs, midrib not raised on vertical surface, lobes (pinnae or teeth) 4-12 pairs, distant or the distal ones overlapping, oblong to orbicular; proximal lobes cut to rhachis, sinuses of distal lobes usually not reaching rhachis, sts cut only 1/5 to rhachis at widest part of the leaf; teeth often absent but up to 6 per lobe, on the distal and outer margins, small, triangular, obtuse or rounded, apiculate. Peduncles us. borne on rhizomes, ca. equal to leaves, 1-6 cm, nude or with 1 simple bract, sparsely villous. Us, dioecious, occ. monoecious. Pistillate heads 2-7 mm diam.. up to 10 mm in fruit; surface convex; involucre urceolate; phyllaries 10-30 in 3 or more unequal rows, broadly elliptic, green, glabrous, with a wide, often brown-tipped, scarious margin; inner phyllaries grow after anthesis to enclose subglobose fruiting head; florets 10-80, ca. 2-5 mm long, curved, yellow-green; corolla slightly longer than wide, with unequal teeth. Staminate heads 3-8 mm diam.; involucre hemispherical; phyllaries 5-10 in 1-2 subequal rows, not growing after anthesis; florets slightly more numerous. Bisexual heads predominantly staminate. Achenes up to 1.9 × 1.0 mm, slightly compressed, almost round or irregularly angled, with a pale unwrinkled papery surface turning brown and smooth. Flowers in spring and summer.

[Reproduced from Lloyd (1972, New Zealand J. Bot. 10: 277–372, as Cotula dioica (Hook.f.) Hook.f.) with permission from The Royal Society of New Zealand.]

Indigenous (Endemic)
Number of subspecific taxa in New Zealand within Leptinella dioica Hook.f.
Indigenous (Endemic)2
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [Not Threatened]
Hooker, J.D. 1852–1853 ("1853"): The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the Years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. II. Flora Novae-Zelandiae. Part I. Flowering plants. Lovell Reeve, London.
Hooker, J.D. 1864: Handbook of the New Zealand Flora: a systematic description of the native plants of New Zealand and the Chatham, Kermadec's, Lord Auckland's, Campbell's and Macquarie's Islands. Part I. Reeve, London.
Kirk,T. 1899: The Students' Flora of New Zealand and the Outlying Islands. Government Printer, Wellington, N.Z.
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.
Lloyd, D.G.; Webb, C. J. 1987: The reinstatement of Leptinella at generic rank, and the status of the 'Cotuleae' (Asteraceae, Anthemideae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 25: 99–105.
Parsons, M.J.; Douglass, P.; Macmillan, B.H. 1998: Current Names List for wild Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons (except Grasses) of New Zealand as used in Herbarium CHR. Version 1, to 31 Dec 1995. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand.