Veronica macroura var. dubia Cheeseman, Hebe obtusata (Cheeseman) Cockayne et Allan
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 = 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). 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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Range Restricted
Very low growing sprawling shrub bearing pairs of dark green leathery elliptical leaves and short spikes of pinkish flowers inhabiting coastal Waitakere and Kawhia. Leaves m-shaped in cross section, 20-55mm long by 11-20mm wide, margin hairy (lens needed). Flower spike to 13cm long.
North Island - Occurs near the west coast of North Island, chiefly west of Auckland between Muriwai and Manukau Heads, but also further south, at Kawhia Harbour.
Strictly coastal. Usually found on sparsely vegetated steep slopes and banks, in low windswept scrub and on cliff faces and rock stacks. May be found threaded through carices, Poa anceps and flax (Phormium tenax).
Spreading low shrub to 0.5 m tall. Branches prostrate or decumbent, old stems brown or grey; branchlets red-brown, puberulent, hairs bifarious or uniform (sometimes very sparse); internodes (2-) 10-39 mm; leaf decurrencies evident (often with a narrow ridge along medial line) or obscure. Leaf bud distinct; sinus absent. Leaves decussate to subdistichous, erecto-patent to patent; lamina obovate (usually) or elliptic or circular or oblong. Coriaceous, flat or slightly m-shaped in transverse section, (6-) 20-55 x (6.5-) 11-20 (-28.5) mm; apex obtuse or rounded or rarely retuse; margin cartilaginous, pubescent (usually very conspicuously), often tinged red; upper surface dark green, glossy, without evident stomata, usually hairy along midrib; lower surface light green, hairy along midrib and sometimes covered with minute glandular hairs (when young). Inflorescences with 34-88 flowers, lateral, unbranched, 3.8-12.6 cm; peduncle 0.7-3.1 cm; rachis 3.2-9.5 cm. Bracts alternate, lanceolate or narrowly oblong, acute or subacute, sometimes hairy outside. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels 1-3.3 mm sometimes recurved in fruit. Calyx 2.5-3.5 mm; lobes narrowly elliptic or oblong, obtuse to acute, often hairy outside. Corolla tube hairy inside and sometimes outside, 2.3-4 x 1.7-2 mm (usually quite asymmetric - longer on anterior side), funnelform, about equalling or longer than calyx; lobes white or tinged mauve at anthesis. white or mauve with age, ovate or lanceolate or elliptic, obtuse or subacute, suberect to patent, longer to shorter than corolla tube (varies on one flower because of asymmetric division of corolla), hairy inside or at least with a few hairs toward base on inner surface and sometimes ciliate (near base) or hairy outside. Stamen filaments white or mauve, 4.7-7.5 mm; anthers buff or mauve, 1.5-2.2 mm. Ovary sometimes sparsely hairy, 0.8-1 mm; ovules approximately 10-13 per locule; style 5-7 mm, sometimes sparsely hairy. Capsules acute or subacute, 3.7-4.5 x 2-2.3 mm, sometimes hairy, loculicidal split extending ¼-way to base. Seeds flattened, ellipsoid to discoid, straw-yellow, 0.9-1.3 x 0.7-0.9 mm, micropylar rim approximately 0.2 mm.
Distinguished from most large-leaved “Occlusae” (Bayly & Kellow, 2006) by the combination of its low-growing habit, leaf shape and size, the colour of young branchlets, and the usually conspicuous pubescence on the leaf margin. It resembles V. bishopiana, which can be distinguished from V. obtusata by its much longer lanceolate, acuminate, dark-green to maroon tinged leaves, which lack hairy margins.
Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Easily grown from fresh seed, semi-hardwood cuttings and layered pieces. An attractive prostrate shrub for a sunny border, bank or wall. Can be grown through sedges and grasses. Flower colour is variable in the wild and this species could do with some critical horticultural selection to obtain the more brightly coloured forms
Not Threatened. However, close to extinction within the Kawhia part of its range where it only secure on some of the southern islets within the harbour.
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’.
de Lange (1996) suggests that it sometimes hybridises with V. stricta var. stricta., V. var. macoura and in the Waitakere Ranges with V. bishopiana. The Kawhia populations are unusual. All are associated with former Maori habitations and pa - possibly these southerly outliers were deliberately planted by Maori. This would be worth investigating (de Lange pers. comms.)
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. 186.
de Lange, P. J. 1996. Hebe bishopiana (Scrophulariaceae) - an endemic species of the Waitakere Ranges, west Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany34: 187-94.
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: Ward, M.D. (Year at time of access): Veronica obtusata Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-obtusata/ (Date website was queried)