Veronica adamsii


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'.
adamsii: Named for James Adams (1839-1906) an exceptional amateur botanist who established the Thames High School. In 1906 he died suddenly whilst still the headmaster of the high school. He is buried in the Tararu Cemetery, Thames. James Adams was a friend of the first Auckland Museum Director Thomas Cheeseman whom he often accompanied in the field. Cheeseman commemorated Adams contributions to New Zealand Botany with the species Brachyglottis adamsii, Celmisia adamsii, and Trilepidea adamsii. His granddaughter was Jacqueline Nancy Adams (1926-2007) botanical illustrator, artist, botanist and phycologist whose name is also commemorated by a number of marine seaweeds.

Common Name(s)

Adam's Koromiko

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

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 - Range Restricted


2012 - DP, OL
2009 - OL, DP, St


Veronica adamsii Cheeseman



Brief Description

Low bushy shrub with narrow pointed pairs of leaves and short spikes of white (occasionally purple) flowers inhabiting the northern tip of the North Island. Leaves widest towards base, to 100mm long by 10-18mm wide. Leaf bud with small gap at base. Flower spikes to 15cm long. Fruit dry, flattened.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Hebe adamsii (Cheeseman) Cockayne et Allan


Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (Te Paki (Unuwhao Bush))


A lithophyte confined to sparsely vegetated, exposed cliff, bluff and rock outcrops within lowland/coastal forest. It is often found growing in and around clumps of Astelia banksii A.Cunn.


Low spreading shrub up to 1 m tall. Old stems grey-brown; branchlets yellowish brown , drying dark, glabrous or minutely puberulent when young ; internodes 3–10× diameter. Leaf bud usually with small rounded sinus, sometimes sinus absent. Leaves erecto-patent to patent ; lamina lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, coriaceous, glossy bronze green above, slightly duller beneath, 30–100 × 7–28 mm, glabrous except for minute glands and short eglandular hairs on midrib above, young leaves sometimes ciliolate or minutely glandular along margins; apex subacute to acute; base abruptly narrowed to short ciliolate petiole; margin entire, glabrous, pale, weakly bevelled. Inflorescences lateral, racemose, 50–150 m long; flowers distant, spiralled. Peduncle and rachis with minute spreading eglandular hairs; peduncle 10–30 mm long. Bracts linear, acute, ciliolate, usually shorter than or equalling pedicels, rarely longer. Pedicels erecto-patent to spreading, 2.5–4.0 mm long. Flowers weakly turpentine-scented, protandrous. Calyx lobes broadly ovate, acuminate, overlapping at edges, 3.0 × 1.5–2.0 mm ; outer surface with scattered minute sessile glands; margin eglandular- and glandular-ciliolate. Corolla pale pinkish mauve, fading dirty white; tube 2.5–4.0 mm long, broad and rounded at base, puberulent inside; lobes suberect, ovate to lanceolate, subauriculate at base, acute, 4.0–5.0 × 2.5-4.0 mm. Anthers pale mauve, acute, 2.5 mm long; filaments pinkish mauve, fading white, 6–7 mm long, curving outwards after dehiscence. Nectarial disk glabrous, fleshy, dark green. Style white, glabrous, 6–7 mm long; stigma subcapitate. Ovary cylindrical, glabrous, 1.0–1.2 × 0.8 mm. Capsule ovoid, acute, pale brown, 4.5–6.0 x 3.5–4.0 mm, septicidal to base, loculicidal to ½. Seeds brown, elliptic to subcircular, strongly flattened, smooth, 2.0–2.5 × 1.5–2.0 mm

Similar Taxa

Similar to Veronica macrocarpa a species with which it is allopatric, and from which it differs by its low spreading habit, smaller bronze-green rather than yellow-green leaves, usually more distant flowers, pointed flower buds, acute rather than rounded corolla lobes, and shorter corolla tube. Veronica adamsii has some superficial similarity to V. perbella another allopatric species, which is diploid (2n = 40) rather than tetraploid (2n = 80), is a larger plant, with narrow leaves, without a leaf bud sinus, and has flowers with a much shorter corolla tube and distinctly more acute corolla lobes than is usual for V. adamsii.


(January-) March - September (- December) - often has two peaks, March and September.

Flower Colours



Fruit may be found throughout the year.

Propagation Technique

Very easy from semi-hardwood cuttings. Fresh seed, when available, germinates well.


A comprehensive survey in April 1991 located c.700 adult plants in two main areas within Unuwhao Bush. The species is naturally uncommon because there is very little open bluff habitat available for it to colonise. The main threat, feral goats were removed in January 1991. However, all the known populations are on private land. Currently the steep nature of its habitat and the Waahi Tapu status of Unuwhao Bush protects this species from major land use changes.

Chromosome No.

2n = 80

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange (12 August 2005): Description from Garnock-Jones and Clarkson (1991)

References and further reading

Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Clarkson, B.D. 1991: Hebe adamsii and H. murrellii (Scrophulariaceae) reinstated. New Zealand Journal of Botany 32 : 11-15

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