Veronica biggarii


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'.

Common Name(s)

Biggar's Hebe

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 - RR, Sp


Veronica biggarii Cockayne



Brief Description

Small bushy fleshy shrub bearing pairs of oval, red-margined leaves and flower spikes on a noticeable stalk at the tips of erect branches and inhabiting northern Southland mountains. Young flower spikes a distinctive bright pink. Leaves 7-15mm long by 4-8mm wide. Leaf bud without gap at base.

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


Hebe biggarii (Cockayne) Cockayne


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Southland, Eyre and Thomson mountains and Mid Dome)


Alpine. On rock outcrops, cliffs and bluffs also in open snow tussock (Chionochloa Zotov) grassland


Small, erect to sparingly branched spreading, bushy shrub to 0.5 m tall. Branches spreading, decumbent, ascending or erect, old stems grey; branchlets green, brown, red-brown or purplish, puberulent, pubescent or glabrous, hairs bifarious; internodes 3-12 mm. Leaf bud distinct; sinus absent. Leaves erecto-patent to patent; lamina narrowly to broadly elliptic, coriaceous, concave or flat, 5-20 × 2-10 mm; apex acute to rounded; midrib not thickened, rarely evident in fresh leaves; margin glabrous, often tinged red; upper surface glaucous, glabrous; lower surface glaucous. Inflorescences with 8-25 flowers, lateral, unbranched, 20-50 mm long; peduncle 5-18 mm; rachis 15-25 mm. Bracts alternate, linear to narrowly deltoid, subacute to acute. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels < or = to bracts, 1-3 mm long. Calyx 1.8-3.0 mm, 4-5-lobed; lobes lanceolate, subacute or acute, with mixed glandular/eglandular cilia. Corolla tube glabrous, 1.5-1.8 × 2.0-2.5 mm, contracted at base, = or > calyx; lobes white or tinged pink, elliptic, obtuse or subacute, erect to recurved, > corolla tube. Stamen filaments slightly diverging with age, 3-4 mm, anthers magenta, 1.6-1.8 mm. Ovary 1.4-1.8 mm; style 3.5-5.0 mm. Capsules usually pinkish-red when immature, acute, 3.5-4.0 × 2.0-3.0 mm, loculicidal split extending ¼-1/3 way to base. Seeds strongly to weakly flattened, ellipsoid, oblong-ellipsoid to irregular, straw-yellow to pale brown, 0.8-1.3 × 0.6-0.8 mm.

Similar Taxa

Differs from Veronica buchananii and V. pinguifolia by its erect growth habit, distinctly pedicellate (at least the lower most) flowers, mostly glabrous ovaries and capsules; and by the acute apices of the developing capsules. The dark red-pigmentation of the infructescences of Veronica biggarii is especially distinctive though it can vary within populations.


October – June

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


November – May

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from cuttings and fresh seed. An attractive species which has been used quite successfully in breeding new hebe cultivars.


A Naturally Uncommon, range-restricted endemic locally common within its key habitats and under no obvious threats.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


Fact Sheet by Peter J. de Lange (3 August 2006). Description modified from Bayley and Kellow (2006)

References and further reading

Bayly, M.; 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 6 Mar 2016