Most commonly found on the eastern side of the South Island.
This is a vigorous, hardy, herbaceous groundcover plant spreading to about 1m, and is a purple-leaved form of the less commonly grown grey-leaved Acaena inermis.
It has fine, feathery foliage which hugs the ground though its leaves can grow as high as 5cm if planted in light shade when the colour will change from purple to a grey-purple.
Acaena inermis grows in montane gravelly riverbeds and tussock grassland where it has good drainage. In areas with high humidity such as Auckland it needs moderately dry or free-draining conditions, but it can also thrive in exposed situations, including coastal, as it tolerates dry and windy conditions as well as poor soils. To obtain the strongest purple colour plant in full sun, and feed if it starts to lose its colour. It has a moderate growth rate and is hardy but not invasive making it ideal for rockeries where its striking colour makes it a good complementary plant. It can also be used as a groundcover for container plants.