Veronica stricta var. macroura


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'
macroura: From the Greek macro 'large' and urus 'tail', perhaps referring to the inflorescences.

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 var. macroura (Hook.f. ex Benth.) Garn.-Jones



Brief Description

Bushy shrub bearing pairs of thin broad oval leaves inhabiting coastal sites in the central North Island. Leaves variable, to 106mm long, widest around middle and rapidly tapering towards tip and base. Leaf bud with no gap at base. Flowers white or pinkish, spike to 17cm 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 macroura Hook.f. ex Bent. Hebe macroura (Benth.) Cockayne et Allan, Veronica cookiana Colenso, Veronica macroura var. cookiana (Colenso) Cheeseman, Hebe cookiana (Colenso) Cockayne et Allan, Hebe stricta var. macroura (Benth.) L.B.Moore


Endemic. Variable but as circumscribed here locally common in coastal situations from Cape Reinga to Wellington. An extreme form, with very large, broad, glaucous leaves, and a very flat almost creeping habit, and which has been segregated in the past as both Veronica or Hebe cookiana is endemic to the papa mudstone cliffs from Hicks Bay to Mahia Peninsula.


Strictly coastal where it usually grows on cliff faces and associated talus slopes.


Shrub (0.2-)1 x 1(-2) m, sprawling to suberect or erect. Branchlets finely pubescent or entirely glabrous. Stem internodes longer than stem diameter. Leaf bud without sinus. Leaves, spreading, 50-100(-110) mm, dull green or glaucous (if so then somewhat glossy), obovate-oblong, somewhat leathery or fleshy, apex obtuse, leaf margin usually entire, occasionally toothed. Inflorescence axillary, racemose, about length of leaves but often much shorter, and then obscured by foliage, sometimes drooping, all parts pubescent or glabrescent. Flowers densely crowded on raceme, rather sweetly (sometimes over powerfully so) scented, white (rarely lilac). Calyx-lobes oblong, obtuse. Corolla tube 4-6 mm, exceeding calyx, narrow, cylindric, lobes rounded. Capsules < 5 mm long, glabrous, erect, suberect or drooping.

Similar Taxa

Veronica stricta var. macroura differs from other accepted varieties of V. stricta primarily by the obovate-oblong leaves, and the generally smaller, compact, often sprawling, shrub habit. An exact circumscription for this variety is difficult, and in the relevant geographic parts of the country it grades into populations that have been called Hebe stricta var. atkinsonii (included here in Veronica stricta var. stricta) as well as Veronica stricta var. stricta, such that field distinction is well nigh impossible.


(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

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally cultivated, particularly the distinctive, glaucous leaved East Cape entity. Not often offered by commercial nurseries.

Taxonomic notes

The form endemic to the marine siltstone/mudstone geologies of the eastern side of the North Island, and known by the names Veronica cookiana and Hebe cookiana seems very distinct from other forms currently included within var. macroura.


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


This page last updated on 22 Feb 2016