Hebe leiophylla (Cheeseman) Andersen, Hebe leiophylla (Cheeseman) Cockayne et Allan nom. superf., nom. illeg., Veronica ligustrifolia var. gracillima Kirk, Veronica gracillima (Kirk) Cheeseman, xHebe gracillima (Kirk) Cockayne et Allan, Hebe gracillima (Kirk) Cockayne et Allan, Veronica parviflora var. phillyreaefolia Hook.f.
Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
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 = 80
Current conservation status
The threat classification 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) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website 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. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Bushy shrub bearing pairs of narrow leaves and long erect flower spikes inhabiting the northern South Island. Twigs fuzzy (lens needed). Leaves variable, to 56mm long, with a finely hairy margin (lens needed). Leaf bud with small gap between base of leaves. Flowers white, in a spike to 17cm long.
Widespread on northern South Island, north from the Organ Range. and Greymouth.
Grows in scrub and at forest margins in a range of situations, sometimes in swampy sites. from sea-level to the treeline.
Bushy shrub to 3 m tall. Branches erect, old stems brown or grey; branchlets green, puberulent, hairs uniform; internodes (2-) 4-15 (-30) mm; leaf decurrencies evident or obscure. Leaf bud distinct; sinus small and rounded, or narrow and acute. Leaves erecto-patent to recurved; lamina linear-lanceolate or oblong-elliptic, thin or subcoriaceous, flat or slightly m-shaped in transverse section, (8-) 15-40 (-56) x (2-) 4-8 (-10.5) mm; apex acute to obtuse; margin sometimes cartilaginous, puberulent; upper surface green, dull or glossy, without evident or with few stomata, hairy along midrib and sometimes covered with minute glandular hairs (when young); lower surface green or light green, glabrous or hairy along midrib; petiole 0-2 (-3) mm, hairy along margins and above and sometimes below. Inflorescences with 14-150 flowers, lateral, unbranched, 3.5-16.5cm; peduncle 0.5-2.6cm; rachis 2.5-14.1 cm. Bracts alternate, lanceolate to elliptic, subacute to acute. Flowers hermaphrodite. pedicels (0.9-) 1.5-3 mm. Calyx 1.5-2.5 (-2.9) mm; lobes elliptic or lanceolate or more rarely deltoid or oblong, subacute to obtuse or rarely acute. Corolla tube hairy inside and sometimes sparsely hairy outside, (1.5-) 2-3 x 1.7-2.5 mm, funnelform, shorter to longer than calyx; lobes white or tinged mauve at anthesis, ovate or elliptic, obtuse, suberect to patent, longer than corolla tube, sometimes with a few hairs toward base on inner surface. Stamen filaments (4.5-) 5.5-7.5 mm; anthers mauve or pink, 1.8-2.1 mm. Ovary very rarely hairy, approximately 0.8-1.2 mm; ovules approximately 11-12 per locule; style 4.7-7 mm, very rarely hairy. Capsules obtuse or subacute, 2.7-4.5 (-5) x (1.8-) 2.3-3 (-3.5) mm, loculicidal split extending ¼-¾-way to base (most approximately ¼-way). Seeds strongly flattened, more or less discoid, winged, pale brown, 1.2-1.7 x 1-1.4 mm, micropylar rim 0.2-0.4 mm.
It sometimes resembles V. phormiiphila, and differences between them are not always clear-cut (see notes under V. phormiiphila). It often grows with V. salicifolia (which generally has much larger leaves) and V. subfulvida (see notes under that species).
(December-) January-April (-June)
(December-) February-June (-November)
Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
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’.
A variable species, particularly in leaf shape, distinguished from most others by the combination of: its leaf size and shape; often small sinus; densely and uniformly hairy branchlets; and simple inflorescences.
This species was included as Hebe gracillima in the treatment of Moore (in Allan 1961), where the name V. leiophylla, which has historically been applied to a range of species (including V. traversii, V. strictissima and V. rakniensis), was placed incertae sedis. Examination of type specimens of the two names suggests that they are conspecific and V. leiophylla, having priority over H. gracillima, is the name that must be adopted under the rules of the ICBN. Any specimens previously identified by us as H. gracillima are V. leiophylla as treated here.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Bayly & Kellow (2006).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Volume 1.Wellington: Government Printer.
Bayly, M.J., Kellow, A.V. 2006. An illustrated guide to New Zealand Hebes. Wellington, N.Z.: Te Papa press pg. 264.
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
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: Ward, M.D. (Year at time of access): Veronica leiophylla Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-leiophylla/ (Date website was queried)