Hebe ligustrifolia (A.Cunn.) Cockayne et Allan
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 = 40
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) – 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.
Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – an interim threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
- Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017 . 2018. 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. Department of Conservation. Source: NZTCS and licensed by DOC for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.
2017 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Bushy yellowish shrub bearing pairs of narrow leaves inhabiting eastern Northland. Young twigs and central vein of leaf yellow. Leaves variable, to 100mm long by 20mm wide, widest at base tapering to a narrow blunt tip. Flowers white to pinkish, in a spike to 8cm long.
Endemic to Northland, North Island, from North Cape to Whangarei Heads, mostly on the eastern and northern coasts (between North Cape and Cape Reinga). It might also occur in western Northland (see notes below).
Grows chiefly in near-coastal sites in scrub, in forest, on cliffs or on slips.
Openly branched, usually a bushy shrub or spreading low shrub, rarely a small tree (near Te Paki), to 2.5 (-8) m tall. Branches erect to spreading, old stems brown or grey; branchlets olive-green to more or less orange or sometimes purplish, minutely puberulent, hairs uniform; internodes (1.9-) 4-10 (-17.5) mm; leaf decurrencies evident (often with a narrow ridge along medial line) or obscure. Leaf bud distinct; sinus absent. Leaves erecto-patent to patent; lamina elliptic or oblong-elliptic or linear-lanceolate, subcoriaceous, flat or slightly m-shaped in traverse section, (12-) 26-50 (-100) x (4.2-) 6- 10 (-20) mm; apex subacute to obtuse; 2 lateral veins arising from base or brochidodromous secondary veins evident in fresh leaves; midrib thickened below and either slightly thickened above or depressed to grooved above; margin sometimes narrowly cartilaginous, puberulent or glabrous, rarely tinged red; upper surface light to dark green (with midrib and base of lamina often yellow), dull to slightly glossy, without evident stomata, usually minutely hairy along midrib or sometimes glabrous; lower surface light green, glabrous (mostly) or hairy along midrib (only toward base) or rarely covered with minute glandular hairs (on youngest leaves). Inflorescences with (15-) 20-70 flowers, lateral, unbranched, (2.5-) 3-8 cm; peduncle 0.45-1.5 (-2.2) cm; rachis 1.5-6.5 cm. Bracts alternate or lowermost pair opposite, then subopposite or alternate above, ovate or narrowly lanceolate, acute or subacute, rarely hairy outside. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels usually longer than or equal to bracts, 1-2.5 mm. Calyx (1.5-) 2-3 mm; lobes lanceolate or elliptic, acute or subacute or acuminate, sometimes hairy outside. Corolla tube hairy inside and sometimes outside, (1.2-) 1.6-3 x 1.8-2.2 mm, funnelform, shorter than (usually) or equalling or sometimes slightly longer than calyx; lobes white or tinged mauve at anthesis, ovate to deltoid or lanceolate or elliptic (last two states mostly in anterior lobes), acute or subacute, suberect to recurved, longer than corolla tube, bluntly ciliate (often) or with a few hairs toward base on inner surface and sometimes hairy outside. Stamen filaments white or mauve, 5-6.5 mm; anthers mauve or purple, (1.5-) 1.7- 2.5 mm. Ovary 0.75-1 mm; ovules approximately 6-15 per locule; style 4-6 mm. Capsules acute or subacute, 2.5-4 (-6) x 1.7-3 (-3.7) mm, loculicidal split extending ½-¾-way to base. Seeds flattened, broad ellipsoid to more or less discoid, straw-yellow, 0.9-1.5 x 0.7-1.1 mm, micropylar rim 0.2-0.4 mm.
Distinguished from most large-leaved “Occlusae” (see Bayley & Kellow 2006) by the combination of: leaf shape and size; having corolla tubes mostly shorter than calyces; and broad, acute, to subacute corolla lobes that are longer than the corolla tube. The leaves are generally less robust than those of V. perbella and broader than those of V. rivularis both of which have similar flowers. The outsides of calyces are frequently, though not always, glabrous; this can distinguish plants with only fruit or buds from V. stricta var. stricta, with which it may co-occur. It is probably most similar to V. flavida (see notes under that species); both often have midribs that are conspicuously yellow above.
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’.
ligustrifolia: From the genus Ligustrum privet and the Greek word phylum ‘leaf’, meaning privet-leaved
It is possible that V. ligustrifolia also occurs in western Northland, particularly around and south of Hokianga Harbour, including Waima (P. J. de Lange pers. comm. 2005) and Waipoua forests. Some similar specimens from that area are identified here as V. flavida (but see notes under that species). We have had few opportunities for fieldwork in these areas and cannot identify all herbarium specimens with confidence.
V. ligustrifolia is variable in habit (from sprawling to, more commonly, erect) and leaf size, and two
informal segregates have been proposed: Hebe sp. “m” of Druce (1980) and Eagle (1982), also called H. “Whangarei” by Druce (1993); H. aff. ligustrifolia of de Lange & Murray (2002), databased at AK as H. ligustrifolia “var. Surville” and also listed, without an informal name, by Druce (1993). Neither is considered sufficiently distinct for recognition here.
A suite of specimens from Matai Bay, Karikari Peninsula (e.g. WELT 81894-81896), representing the only Hebe seen there, may have some affinity to V. ligustrifolia, but they are difficult to identify with any certainty. They have: long hairs on the branchlets, undersides of midribs, leaf margins and outsides of calyx lobes (all uncommon in V. ligustrifolia); corolla tubes slightly to conspicuously longer than calyces; and leaf flavonoids roughly intermediate between those of V. stricta var. stricta and V. ligustrifolia (Mitchell et al. in prep.).
Description adapted by M. Ward from Bayly & Kellow (2006).
References and further reading
Bayly, M.J., Kellow, A.V. 2006. An illustrated guide to New Zealand Hebes. Wellington, N.Z.: Te Papa press pg. 196-197.
de Lange, P. J. and Murray, B. G. 2002. Contributions to a chromosome atlas of the New Zealand Flora - 37. Miscellaneous families. New Zealand Journal of Botany 40:1-23.
Druce, A. P. 1993. Indigenous vascular plants of New Zealand. 9th revision. Unpublished checklist held at Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. Copy also held in the library of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.
Druce, A. P. I980. Trees, shrubs, and Lianes of New Zealand (including wild hybrids). Unpublished checklist held at Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand. (Copy also held in the library of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.)
Eagle, A. 1982. Eagle’s Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. 2nd series. Auckland: Collins.
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 ligustrifolia Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-ligustrifolia/ (Date website was queried)