Acaena novae-zelandiae is an evergreen, reddish toned, ground cover perennial species which grows to a height of approx. 10 cm. The leaflet upper surfaces are dull and sparsely to densely covered with silky hairs. The minute flowers, which are produced throughout the summer, are clustered into balls at the end of erect stems. On ripening, fruits are formed having spiny hooks, these attach themselves to fur or clothing. It forms large patches in lowland to lower montane tussock-grassland and open places throughout New Zealand.