Species

Veronica obtusata

Etymology

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'.
obtusata: blunt

Common Name(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

Qualifiers

2012 - RR, Sp

Authority

Veronica obtusata Cheeseman

Family

Plantaginaceae

Brief Description

Very low growing sprawling shrub bearing pairs of dark green leathery elliptical leaves and short spikes of pinkish flowers inhabiting coastal Waitakere and Kawhia. Leaves m-shaped in cross section, 20-55mm long by 11-20mm wide, margin hairy (lens needed). Flower spike to 13cm long.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code

HEBOBT

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

Synonyms

Veronica macroura var. dubia Cheeseman, Hebe obtusata (Cheeseman) Cockayne et Allan

Distribution

Endemic. New Zealand: North Island (Waitakere Coastline from Muriwai to Huia, and the southern reaches of the Kawhia Harbour)

Habitat

Strictly coastal. Usually found on sparsely vegetated steep slopes and banks, in low windswept scrub and on cliff faces and rock stacks. May be found threaded through carices, Poa anceps and flax (Phormium tenax).

Flowering

July - December

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple

Fruiting

Throughout the year

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed, semi-hardwood cuttings and layered pieces. An attractive prostrate shrub for a sunny border, bank or wall. Can be grown through sedges and grasses. Flower colour is variable in the wild and this species could do with some critical horticultural selection to obtain the more brightly coloured forms

Threats

Not Threatened. However, close to extinction within the Kawhia part of its range where it only secure on some of the southern islets within the harbour.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon

Yes

Endemic Genus

No

Endemic Family

No

Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Taxanomic notes

Occasionally forms hybrids with Veronica stricta var. stricta, var. macoura and in the Waitakere Ranges with V. bishopiana. The Kawhia populations are unusual. All are associated with former Maori habitations and pa - possibly these southerly outliers were deliberately planted by Maori. This would be worth investigating.

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 6 Mar 2016