Species

Hebe breviracemosa

Etymology

Hebe: Named after Hebe, in Greek Mythology she was daughter of Hera and Zeus, cupbearer of the gods and goddess of youth.

Common Name(s)

Kermadec koromiko

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

Qualifiers

2012 - CD, EF, IE, OL
2009 - CD, HI, OL, IE

Authority

Hebe breviracemosa (W.R.B.Oliv.) Andersen

Family

Plantaginaceae

Brief Description

Bushy shrub bearing pairs of thin oval leaves and flower spikes that are shorter than the leaves inhabiting the Kermadec Islands (Raoul Island only). Leaves to 112mm long by 26mm wide. Leaf bud with small narrow gap at base between leaves. Flowers white, with a very short tube.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs

Synonyms

Veronica breviracemosa W.R.B.Oliv., Hebe breviracemosa (W.R.B.Oliv.) Cockayne et Allan nom. superf., nom. illeg.

Distribution

Endemic to Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands Group.

Habitat

Coastal cliffs and headlands, under sparse Kermadec pohutukawa (Metrosideros kermadecensis W.R.B.Oliv.) and Kermadec ngaio (Myoporum kermadecense Sykes) forest.

Features

Shrub up 2 x 1.5 m. Branches numerous, somewhat lax and spreading, often layering. Branchlets yellow-green, minutely puberulent. Leaf bud as long as mature leaves, with or without sinus, sinus ovoid to narrowly elliptic. Petiole 5-10 mm. Leaves spreading; 30-150 x 15-30 mm, yellow-green, green to dark-green, firmly fleshy, elliptic, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, apex acute to subacute, base attenuate to cuneate; lamina entire or with small teeth in upper third; glabrescent with fine pubescence along lamina margin. Inflorescences lateral, racemose, 20-30(-50) mm, shorter than surrounding leaves, mostly simple, sometimes compound with 1(-2) branches at base. Peduncle 5-15 mm long, peduncle and rachis puberulent. Basal bracts often leaf like 3-5 mm long, green. Flowers crowded, pale lilac. Calyx-lobes 4 x 1 mm. Corolla tube 1-1.5 mm, lobes 3 mm, ovate, acute, strongly recurving almost to calyx-lobes. Capsule 5 x 2.5 mm, grey-green, narrowly acute, glabrescent.

Similar Taxa

Vegetative material could be confused with koromiko (Hebe stricta (Benth.) L.B.Moore) but H. breviracemosa is not as hairy, while the leaf bud of this species usually has a sinus. Flowering material easily separates this species from all other northern hebes with racemose inflorescences, as none of those species possess the combination of a short corolla tube, with the corolla lobes strongly curling back on themselves.

Flowering

In warmer parts of the country this species can flower throughout the year, further south it generally flowers during the summer months.

Flower Colours

Lavender

Fruiting

Fruits may be found throughout the year but are more common in summer.

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from seed, and cuttings. Seed is not freely produced by garden stock because this is mostly derived from a single seemingly male-dominant clone. This species hybridises easily in cultivation, so cutting grown material is the most reliable means of maintaining it.

Threats

Once thought to be extinct, this species is still extremely scarce on Raoul Island. Indeed the species was assumed to have been eliminated by goats. When the last goat was shot in 1983 on exactly the same day, a single hebe was rediscovered by a goat hunter! Until 1997 this was the only plant known from the wild, and all New Zealand material is derived from it. However, as part of a weed eradication programme, people abseiling the steep volcanic cliffs of Raoul discovered a further 50 plants. Cuttings and seedlings raised from these plants and the original discovery are now being planted across Raoul Island. Nevertheless the species still remains at severe risk of extinction, mainly through weed invasion of its unstable, volcanic cliff habitat.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon

Yes

Endemic Genus

No

Endemic Family

No

Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).

 

 
    
 

Attribution

Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (28 July 2007). Description based on life material held by author supplemented with information obtained from Bayly & Kellow (2006)

References and further reading

Bayly, M.J.; Kellow, A.V. 2006: Hebes, identification, classification and biology. Wellington, Te Papa Press.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

This page last updated on 9 Oct 2014