Veronica salicornioides


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'.
salicornioides: like Salicornia (glasswort)

Common Name(s)

whipcord hebe

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered

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 Endangered
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Endangered


2012 - RR
2009 - RF


Veronica salicornioides Hook.f.



Brief Description

Spreading low growing shrub bearing green erect narrow scaly even twigs inhabiting inland Marlborough. Twigs 1.2-3.8mm wide. Leaves scale-like, smooth, clasping stem along full length, tip rounded, margins finely hairy (lens needed). Flowers white, in groups of 6-8 at tips of twigs.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Hebe salicornioides (Hook.f.) Cockayne et Allan, Leonohebe salicornioides (Hook.f.) Heads


Endemic. South Island only. In the east from southern Marlborough (upper Wairau and Clarences rivers including tributaries) to North Canterbury (Lake Tennyson).


A montane to subalpine species occupying an altitudinal range of 750-1500m. It is invariably found in mountain valleys, along lake, tarn, river or stream side catchments, usually within red tussock (Chionochloa rubra) dominated wetlands, flushes and seepages


Erect shrub up to 1 x 1m. Trunk short, stout, covered in grey bark. Branches few, erect, rather flexible. Branchlets terete, 20-80 mm long , 2-2.5(-3) mm diameter, yellow-green, not glossy, softly fleshy, and pliant, very brittle when dead; internodes 3-4 mm long, exposed for most of length; nodal joint obscure. Leaves widely spaced (distant), reduced to scales, < 1mm long, somewhat membranous when fresh, dull green to yellowish green, apex obtuse to rounded, or subacute, occasionally convex and incurved, margin with pale membranous rim pressed very close to the stem, fused for at least ½ of length to form a sheathing collar. Inflorescence a 10-12-flowered spike. Bracts 1.5 mm long, obtuse to truncate. Calyx 2-3 mm, lobes obtuse, usually fused for 2/3 of length, or completely to apex. Corolla tube 2-3 mm, included within calyx, white, truncate. Corolla lobes spreading, 3-5 mm, white or pale lilac, broadly ovate, apex obtuse to subacute. Capsule 4.5-5 x 2-2.5mm, pale brown to brown, rhomboid, rhomboid-ovate, apex subacute or acute.

Similar Taxa

Veronica salicornioides can be confused with V. armstrongii, and V. ochracea. From both species Veronica salicornioides can be distinguished by its preference for montane tussock-dominated flushes, lake, river and stream sides, erect growth form and fewer, ascending rather than spreading non-glossy branches, with the branchlet internodes 3 or more mm long, The leaves of this species are reduced to scales < 1 mm long, which are placed widely spaced on the stem, appressed and never overlapping . The leaves of Veronica armstrongii are bead-like and form bumps along the stem. Veronica ochracea has a dense spreading habit, firm glossy branchlets and think, olive-green leaves.


November - February

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


December - May

Propagation Technique

Easy from fresh seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. Dislikes humidity and does best in a free-draining though permanently moist soil planted in full sun.


Formerly threatened by fire. This species now has a widely fragmented distribution. Many populations comprise mature adults with no recruitment evident. Weeds such as Hieracium, Carex scoparia, and Agrostis spp. may be suppressing regeneration at some sites. Plants are browsed by cattle, horses, sheep and goats, and at many sites it is only secure because of the general inaccessibility of the habitat

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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

Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.

Taxanomic notes

Hebe salicornioides has also been recorded from western Otago (Humboldt Range) though the record is apparently unsubstantiated by herbarium vouchers. NZPCN follow others who regard this species as endemic to southern Marlborough and North Canterbury



Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 1 October 2006. Description based on Bayly & Kellow (2006).

References and further reading

Bayly, M.J.; Kellow, A.V. Hebes, identification, classification and biology. Wellington, Te Papa Press

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 4 Apr 2016