Aciphylla aurea

Common Name: golden spaniard 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Apiaceae
Native Range: New Zealand
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Creamy yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Deer, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in well-drained, evenly moist to dry, average soils in full sun to part shade. Hardy from Zones 7 to 9. Prefers some afternoon shade in climates with hot summers. Otherwise does best in full sun. Will form clumping offsets which can be divided. Prefers neutral to slightly acidic soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aciphylla aurea, commonly called golden spaniard or golden speargrass, is an evergreen, tussock forming perennial native to dry, windswept grasslands of New Zealand at altitudes from 1,000-5,000' above sea level. Individual plants can reach 3' tall and equally as wide, with compound leaves up to 2' long made up of yellowish-green, narrow, stiff, sword-shaped leaflets. The leaflets taper to a sharp point, and this armature makes it very deer resistant. When plants are mature, a large (up to 2.5' tall), golden colored inflorescence emerges in summer from the center of the clump, armed with formidable spiky bracts. Small, creamy yellow colored flowers emerge in clusters along the inflorescence. The sturdy flowering spike may remain on the plant for up to two years.

The genus name Aciphylla comes from the Latin "acicula" meaning needle, and the Greek "phyllum" meaning leaf.

The specific epithet aurea means golden yellow.


No known pest and disease issues. Root rot may occur in poorly-drained soils.


Rock gardens or rocky, exposed meadows. Not recommended for use near a path, sidewalk, or driveway.