Veronica elliptica


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'.
elliptica: elliptic

Common Name(s)

kokomuka, shore hebe, shore koromiko

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 elliptica G.Forst.



Brief Description

Bushy shrub or small tree of coastal areas bearing pairs of dark green glossy leaves with a narrow white-hairy margin. Leaves 12-31mm long by 6-12mm wide. Leaf with narrow gap between leaves at base. Flowers white or purplish, in spike to 5cm 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 forsteri F.Muell. nom. illeg., Veronica decussata Moench, Veronica decussata Aiton, Hebe magellanica J.F.Gmel., Veronica marginata Colenso, Hebe elliptica (G.Forst.) Pennell, Hebe elliptica var. crassifolia Cockayne et Allan


Indigenous. North, South, Stewart, Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands. In the North Island scarce, known only from the west coast in scattered locations on the south Taranaki coast, on Kapiti Island, and Titahi Bay. Naturalised on Chatham (Rekohu) Island. Indigenous also to the Falkland Islands. Also naturalised on Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania

Flower Colours


Propagation Technique

Easily grown from semi-hardwood cuttings and layered pieces. An excellent coastal shrub which does well in most gardens but rarely flowers in northern New Zealand. Hebe elliptica is extremely variable, and some critical selection of the range of wild forms is needed. Plants from near Charleston are particularly distinctive in that they retain their flat, creeping habit in cultivation.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Cultural Use/Importance

Plants from near Titahi Bay, Porirua have been distinguished as Hebe elliptica var. crassifolia Cockayne et Allan for many years. Although they differ somewhat by their wider, thicker leaves, this variation when taken alongside that exibited by the species as a whole is no longer regarded in the most modern Hebe treatment as sufficient to warrant their continued recognition.

References and further reading

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 16 Feb 2016