Hebe cupressoides (Hook.f.) Andersen, Hebe cupressoides (Hook.f.) Cockayne et Allan nom. illeg., Leonohebe cupressoides (Hook.f.) Heads
Vascular – Native
Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs
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.
2n = 42
Current conservation status
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley.
2012 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: RF
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Threatened – Nationally Endangered | Qualifiers: RF
2004 | Threatened – Nationally Vulnerable
Rare bushy shrub bearing masses of thin green slightly knobbly leafless twigs that have clusters of pinkish flowers at tips. Leaves scale like, 1-2mm long, triangular, spaced along and clasping the stem. Flowers with long projecting filaments. Fruit a dry rounded capsule.
Endemic. Eastern South Island, occurring historically recorded from 35 sites extending from Marlborough south to Otago.
Veronica cupressoides is a plant of grey scrub communities and occurs across a range of sites from those that have been recently influenced by disturbance (especially river flooding and slips) to more stable sites such as rock outcrops and bouldery moraine.
Aromatic bushy shrub up to 3 × 2 m. Branches erect, whip-like; branches green, grey-green, glaucous; internodes 1.5–6.5 mm; branchlets, including leaves 1.0–3.7 mm wide; leaf bases connate, hairy or glabrous; nodal joint distinct, exposed; leaves not readily abscising, persistent. Leaves connate, appressed; lamina 0.8–2.0 × 0.4–2.0 mm; deltoid, apex acute to obtuse; margin ciliolate or glandular-ciliolate, lower surface glaucous or glaucescent or yellowish-green, glabrous or covered in minute glandular hairs. Juvenile leaves pinnatifid, glabrous or puberulent. Inflorescences 2–22-flowered, terminal, unbranched, 3–40 mm long, rachis 2–33 mm long, glabrous or hairy. Bracts opposite and decussate, shortly connate or free, ovate or deltoid, obtuse or subacute, externally hairy, hairs glandular. Flowers hermaphrodite, mostly sessile. Calyx 1.3–2.0 mm long, 2–4-lobed; lobes acuminate or emarginate, glandular ciliolate, especially externally. Corolla tube 0.9–1.4 × 0.8–1.1 mm, internally hairy; lobes longer than corolla tube, inner surface papillate, cream, white, pale blue, pink or mauve at anthesis, white, cream, pink or mauve with age, obtuse, suberect to recurved, corolla throat pink, mauve or white. Stamen filaments 2.1–3.0 mm long, coloured cream, pink or mauve when young, fading white; anthers 0.9–1.2 mm, reddish-pink to purplish–mauve. Ovary 0.8–1.1 mm long, ovoid or globose, apex didymous. Capsules 1.9–2.4 × 0.9–1.4 mm, angustiseptate, grooved along septum, emarginate, septicidal split extending ⅓-way to base, loculicidal split extending up to ⅓-way to base. Seeds 0.7–1.1 × 0.4–0.6 mm, weakly flattened, ovoid to ellipsoid-oblong or obovoid, pale brown.
Veronica cupressoides is superficially similar to V. propinqua from which it differs by its finer branches, blue-green branchlets and wide spaces between scale leaves. Furthermore the foliage of V. cupressoides is very aromatic smelling strongly of turpentine. In contrast Veronica propinqua has white flowers, non aromatic foliage, green branchlets, with a shorter gap between the pairs of scale leaves.
November - February
March - May
Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easy from semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings and fresh seed. In cultivation flowering plants often produce numerous spontaenous seedlings. Rarely flowers in lowland, warmer or more humid climates.
Habitat loss has been a key factor in the historical decline of Leonohebe cupressoides. The dominant threats now are recruitment failure caused by invasive herbaceous plants that rapidly occupy the disturbed sites this species requires to germinate in. Grazing animals, including domestic stock and wild species such as rabbits and hares can seriously damage or kill plants. Small populations are vulnerable to local extinction through disturbance such as river flooding, and fire – particularly as this species is extremely flammable wet or dry.
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’.
Where To Buy
Occasionally available from plant nurseries.
Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2009). Description based on Bayly & Kellow (2006) but see also de Lange et (2010)
References and further reading
Bayly M.; Kellow A. 2006: An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes.Te Papa Press: Wellington
de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.
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
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Veronica cupressoides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-cupressoides/ (Date website was queried)