Veronica stricta var. stricta


Veronica: Named after Saint Veronica, who gave Jesus her veil to wipe his brow as he carried the cross through Jerusalem, perhaps because the common name of this plant is 'speedwell'. The name Veronica is often believed to derive from the Latin vera 'truth' and iconica 'image', but it is actually derived from the Macedonian name Berenice which means 'bearer of victory'.
stricta: From the Latin strictus 'upright, stiff'

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Veronica stricta Benth. var. stricta



Brief Description

Common bushy shrub bearing pairs of narrow pointed thin leaves inhabiting the North Island. Leaves variable, to 127mm long, widest around middle and tapering towards narrow tip, margin hairy (lens needed). Leaf bud with no gap at base. Flowers white or pinkish, spike to 22cm long.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Veronica stricta Benth., Veronica salicifolia var. stricta (Benth.) Hook.f., Hebe salicifolia var. stricta (Benth.) Cockayne et Allan, Veronica parkinsoniana Colenso, Hebe parkinsoniana (Colenso) Cockayne, Veronica salicifolia var. longiracemosa Cockayne, Hebe salicifolia var. longiracemosa (Cockayne) Cockayen et Allan, Hebe stricta var. atkinsonii (Cockayne) L.B.Moore, Hebe stricta (Benth.) L.B.Moore var. stricta


Endemic to the North and northern South Island. Somewhat local in the far North, otherwise common and widespread in the North Island. Only locally common in the northern South Island.


Common in successional habitats from coastal areas to lower montane habitats.


Shrub or small tree (1-)2(-4) m tall. Branchlets finely pubescent. Stem internodes longer than stem diameter. Leaf bud without sinus. Leaves, spreading, 50-100(-120) mm, dull green to yellow-green (not glossy), lanceolate, linear-lanceolate, somewhat leathery, apex often acuminate, leaf margin usually entire, occasionally toothed. Inflorescence lateral, racemose, much longer than leaves, drooping, sometimes spiraled, all parts except flower finely pubescent. Flowers sweetly (sometimes over powerfully so) scented, lilac, mauve or white. Corolla tube 6 mm, exceeding calyx, narrow, cylindric, lobes rounded. Capsules < 5 mm long, pendent, all parts pubescent.

Similar Taxa

Veronica stricta var. stricta (including Hebe stricta var. atkinsonii - which has not valid name in Veronica) differ from the other varieties primarily by the open branching habit, dull-surfaced, somewhat leathery leaves, and by the longer stem internodes. Support for the on going recognition of Hebe stricta var. atkinsonii is doubtful. For those who wish to distinguish it, Veronica stricta var. stricta it differs from var. atkinsonii by the calyx-lobes, bracts and usually capsules, being finely pubescent, with the racemes (and capsules) usually drooping.


(July-) August (-October) but flowering can also occur sporadically throughout the year

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


(September-) November (-January) but seed capsules may be found throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and semi hardwood cuttings.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 40, 80

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated, though not often now seen for sale within commercial nurseries.

Taxonomic notes

Veronica stricta var. stricta as currently circumscribed remains a very variable species with both diploid (2n = 40) and tetraploid (2n = 80) cytoraces known. Further study into this variation is needed.


Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 February 2005). Description based on Allan (1961) - see also Bayly & Kellow (2006)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I, Wellington, Government Printer

Bayly M. and Kellow A. 2006. An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes.Te Papa Press: Wellington

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 17 Feb 2016