Veronica montana J.B.Armstr. nom. illeg., Veronica monticola J.B.Armstr. nom. illeg., Hebe monticola Andersen, Hebe monticola A.Wall nom. illeg., Hebe montana Cockayne et Allan, nom. illeg., Hebe fruticeti G.Simpson et J.S.Thomson, Hebe subalpina (Cockayne) Andersen
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 spikes of white flowers inhabiting wetter subalpine South Island. Leaves variable, to 51mm long, widest towards base, u-shaped in cross section. Leaf bud with no gap at base. Lower flowers on distinct stalks, spikes to 6cm long towards tip of twigs.
Widespread on South Island, chiefly on wetter mountains on and west of the Main Divide, from the Wairau Valley to the Cameron Mountains.
It grows in subalpine shrubland, penalpine grassland, and sometimes in beech forest close to the treeline or along streams.
Bushy or spreading low shrub to 1.4 m tall. Branches erect or spreading or ascending or decumbent, old stems brown or red-brown or black (on drying); branchlets green (with dark bands al nodes), pubescent (often minutely), hairs bifarious; internodes (0.5-) 3-13 (-16) mm; leaf decurrencies evident. Leaf bud distinct; sinus absent. Leaves erecto-patent to patent; lamina lanceolate or elliptic or oblong-elliptic or almost linear (e.g. some plants in forest rather than above treeline), subcoriaceous, concave, (7-) 12-31 (-51) x (3-) 5-11 mm; apex subacute to obtuse; margin very narrowly cartilaginous, glabrous; upper surface light to dark green, glossy, with many stomata, hairy along midrib; lower surface light green. Inflorescences with (4-) 8-32 flowers, lateral, unbranched, (1.1-) 1.9-6 cm, usually longer than or sometimes about equal to subtending leaves; peduncle (0.3-) 0.6-1.8 cm; rachis (0.8-) 1.3-4.2 cm. Bracts alternate, ovate or lanceolate, subacute to acute. Flowers hermaphrodite or female (on different plants). Pedicels 0.8-4 (- 5.5) mm (can vary considerably within one inflorescence, usually longer near base). Calyx 1.7-3.4 mm; lobes elliptic or lanceolate, subacute or acute. Corolla tube glabrous or hairy inside; tube of hermaphrodite flowers 1-2.2 x approximately 1.7-1.8 mm, funnelform, approximately equalling or longer than calyx; tube of female flowers approximately 1-2.2 x 1.7-2.1 mm, funnel form, equalling or longer than calyx; lobes white or faintly tinged pink or mauve al anthesis, broadly to narrowly ovate or elliptic or deltoid, obtuse or subacute, suberect to patent, longer than corolla tube, usually papillate inside. Stamen filaments 3-6 mm (staminodes 0.7-1 mm); anthers pale pink or mauve, (1.5-) 1.8-2.3 mm; sterile anthers of female flowers pink or mauve or white, 0.7-1.1 mm. Ovary 0.8-1.2 mm; ovules approximately 10-15 per locule; style 2-9.5 mm. Capsules obtuse or subacute, 3-4.2 x 2.4-2.9 mm, loculicidal split extending up to 1/3-way to base. Seeds flattened, ellipsoid (sometimes broadly), not or only weakly winged, pale brown, 1.2-2 x 0.9-1.4 mm, micropylar rim 0.4-0.8 mm.
A variable species, similar to a number of other small-leaved “Occlusae” (see Bayly & Kellow 2006) (see notes under V. rakaiensis. V. treadwellii, V. urvilleana, V. calcicola and V. truncatula). Plants in beech forest tend to have longer internodes and leaves than those in open places. Plants cultivated at Lincoln (e.g. CHR 103130) and at Otari-Wilton’s Bush (illustrated by Eagle 1982, pers. comm. 2003) were reportedly from the Garvie Mountains. The species is not otherwise recorded there, and the locality is omitted from the distribution map (see Bayly & Kellow 2006).
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’.
subalpina: From the Latin sub- ‘almost, below’ and alpinus ‘alpine’, referring to the plant’s sub-alpine habitat.
The circumscription adopted here includes Hebe fruticeti G.Simpson & J.S.Thomson (see Brandon 1995 for further discussion). Aspects of reproductive biology are discussed by Delph (1988, 1990, 1990) and Delph & Lloyd (1991, 1996).
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. 148.
Brandon, A. 1995. Species limits in the Hebe subalpina complex (Scrophulariaceae). Unpublished BSc. (Hons) thesis, Victoria University of Wellington. Wellington, New Zealand. (Copy held in the library of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.)
Delph, L. F. 1988. The evolution and maintenance of gender dimorphism in New Zealand Hebe
(Scrophulariaceae). Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Delph, L. F. 1990. The evolution of gender dimorphism in New Zealand Hebe (Scrophulariaceae)
species. Evolutionary Trends in Plants 4: 85-97
Delph, L. F. 1990. Sex-differential resource allocation patterns in the subdioecious shrub Hebe subalpina. Ecology 71: I 342-51.
Delph, L. F. and Lloyd, 0. G. 1991. Environmental and genetic control of gender in the dimorphic shrub Hebe subalpina. Evolution 45: 1957-64.
Delph, L F. and Lloyd, 0. G. 1996. Inbreeding depression in the gynodioecious shrub Hebe subalpina (Scrophulariaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 34: 24 1-7.
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 subalpina Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-subalpina/ (Date website was queried)