Veronica spectabilis


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'.
spectabilis: notable

Common Name(s)

Takitimu Parahebe

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - DP, RR


Veronica spectabilis (Garn.-Jones) Garn.-Jones



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Parahebe spectabilis Garn.-Jones


Endemic, South Island, Takitimu Mountains, where it is only known between Tower and Excelsior Peak, and from cirques east of that ridge


High alpine to nival ledges and snow banks.


Subshrub, 30-200 tall. Old stems brown. Branches decumbent to ascending. Branchlets red-brown or purplish. Vegetative internodes 1-4 mm long. Stem pubescence uniform, eglandular pubescent and glandular pubescent. Leaves decussate, erecto-patent to spreading. Lamina obovate to spathulate, 4.5-13.0 × 2.5-6.0 mm. Upper surface of leaves dark green or purple, dull. Under surface of leaves dark green or fruiting, 2.5–5 mm long, eglandular-pubescent and glandular-pubescent; hairs all around pedicel. Flowers: Calyx 4-lobed, 6.5-10.0 mm long. Calyx lobes spathulate, subacute to obtuse. Calyx hairs on both both surfaces, mixed eglandular and glandular (upper surface glandular hairs few). Calyx lobe margins entire. Corolla white at anthesis. Nectar guides absent. Corolla throat same colour as lobes. Corolla 18-25 mm diameter. Corolla tube 2.5-4.5 mm long, 1.5-2.0 mm wide, glabrous. Corolla lobes glabrous. Posterior corolla lobe circular or obovate, obtuse, 10-12 × 10-12 mm. Lateral corolla lobes circular, obtuse, flat, not enfolding stamens, 10-13 × 8-11 mm. Anterior corolla lobe circular or obovate, obtuse, 9-12 × 10-12 mm. Stamen filaments white, 3-4 mm long, not narrowed at base. Anthers magenta or purple, 1.2-1.5 mm long. Nectarial disc glabrous. Ovary ovoid, acute or subacute, eglandular hairy and glandular hairy (at apex), 2–2.5 mm long. Style 3.5-4.5 mm long. Stigma 0.4-0.6 mm wide. Capsules, narrowly angustiseptate, emarginate, 4-5 × 4-5 mm, 1-2 mm thick, hairy. Hairs eglandular and glandular. Septicidal split of capsule extending 1/2 way to base to base. Loculicidal split of capsule extending to base. Seeds ellipsoid, straw yellow or pale brown, 0.9-1.0 × 0.5–0.7 mm.

Similar Taxa

Veronica spectabilis is very similar to V. birleyi, with which it shares leaves with dull grey green upper leaf surfaces and with rounded lobes and reddish abaxial surfaces. In its large pedicellate flowers, glandular leaf hairs, and trilobed leaves it also resembles V. trifida. Both Veronica birleyi and V. spectabilis occupy alpine rock crevices, although V. spectabilis is at much lower altitudes (1340–1460 m) than V. birleyi (1800–2900 m). Veronica trifida is a plant primarily of snow-bank meltwater sites.


Unknown - has been collected in flower in January

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


Unknown - has been collected in fruit in January

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


Unknown, though it is unlikely to be threatened by browsing animals or weeds because of its stature, apparent habitat preferences and altitudinal ranges. Further field work is needed to clarify its status.

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available.


Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange (5 October 2006). Description adapted from Garnock-Jones and Lloyd (2003).

References and further reading

Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Lloyd, D.G. 2003: A taxonomic revision of Parahebe (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 181-232

This page last updated on 16 Feb 2016