Veronica lilliputiana


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)

Tarn Speedwell, Tarn Parahebe

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Declining

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


2012 - DP


Veronica lilliputiana Stearn



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 Herbs other than Composites


Veronica canescens Kirk, Hebe canescens (Kirk) A.Wall, Parahebe canescens (A.Wall) W.R.B.Oliv.


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island from Canterbury to Fiordland. Recorded by Aston on the Otago Peninsula in 1896 and was rediscovered there in 2011.


Coastal (Otago Peninsula) but otherwise confined to montane areas where it inhabits the margins of ephemeral pools tarns and lakes, usually in places that dry out in summer.


Short-lived creeping herb, 3-10 mm tall. Old stems brown or red-brown. Branches prostrate. Branchlets brown or green. Vegetative internodes 1-15 mm long. Stem pubescence uniform or absent, eglandular pubescent (short curved white hairs). Leaves spreading to recurved. Lamina ovate or obovate or elliptic or orbicular, 1-3 × 1-2 mm. Upper surface of leaves glaucous, dull. Under surface of leaves glaucous, dull. Leaf hairs eglandular, scattered, on all parts of leaf (most dense on midline and at apex). Apex obtuse to rounded. Base cuneate. Margin ciliate, entire. Petiole 0.0-0.5 mm long. Inflorescence 1-2-flowered, 3-12 mm long at fruiting. Indumentum of peduncle, rachis, and pedicels sparse. Eglandular hairs of inflorescence deflexed (and tangled), white. Peduncle 1-5 mm long, eglandular-pubescent. Bracts paired and opposite, obtuse to subacute, eglandular-hairy adaxially and eglandular-hairy abaxially, elliptic or ovate. Bract margins entire. Pedicels suberect at anthesis, straight at fruiting, 2-7 mm long, densely eglandular-pubescent. Flowers: Calyx 4-5-lobed, 2.0-3.5 mm long. Calyx lobes lanceolate to oblong, subacute to obtuse. Calyx hairs on under surface, eglandular. Calyx lobe margins entire. Corolla pale blue at anthesis (paler below). Nectar guides evident, present on all corolla lobes. Colour ring and nectar guides blue. Corolla throat same colour as lobes. Corolla c.10 mm diameter. Corolla tube 1 mm long, 1.0-1.5 mm wide, hairy inside, hairs short. Corolla lobes glabrous. Posterior corolla lobe elliptic, subacute to divided in two, 3-6 × 2-3 mm. Lateral corolla lobes elliptic, obtuse, flat, not enfolding stamens, 3.0-6.0 × 2.0-3.0 mm. Anterior corolla lobe narrowly elliptic, obtuse, 3.0-6.0 × 2.0-2.5 mm. Stamen filaments white, 4-5 mm long, weakly narrowed at base. Anthers mauve or violet, 0.7-1.5 mm long. Nectarial disc glabrous. Ovary ovoid, obtuse, glabrous, 0.8- 1.0 mm long. Style 4.0-5.5 mm long. Stigma 0.5 mm wide. Capsules narrowly angustiseptate emarginate, 1.0-1.5 × 1.0-2.0 mm, c.0.5 mm thick, glabrous. Septicidal split extending to base. Loculicidal extending ¾ way to base or to base. Seeds strongly flattened, smooth-surfaced, ellipsoid to obovoid, pale brown to brown, c.0.5 × c.0.3 mm.

Similar Taxa

Easily recognised by the minute prostrate growth habit, fine, cotton thread-like, branches, entire leaves which including the petiole are 1.0-2.5–3.5 mm long; and by the flowers which have very short corolla tubes (< 1 mm long) and blue corollas with darker nectar guides.


October - January

Flower Colours

Blue,Violet / Purple


November - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from rooted pieces and bulbils but difficult to maintain. Best grown in a sunny situation, kept in a pot, partially submerged in water. Prone to powdery mildew in humid climates.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family



Description adapted from Garnock-Jones and Lloyd (2003).

References and further reading

Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Lloyd, D.G. 2003: A taxonomic revision of Parahebe (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 181-232

This page last updated on 16 Feb 2016