Hebe tetrasticha (Hook.f.) Andersen, Hebe tetrasticha (Hook.f.) Cockayne et Allan nom. illeg., Leonohebe tetrasticha (Hook.f.) Heads
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 = 42
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 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: DP, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Not Threatened
Low growing green leafless nearly cross-shaped (in cross section) twigs inhabiting Canterbury mountains. Leaves overlapping, scale-like, triangular, tapering out to a base that clasps the stem, margin with pale hairs (lens needed). Flowers white, in clusters of 2-6 towards tips of twigs.
Mountains of Canterbury (mostly) and Westland, from the Otira Valley in the northwest and Puketeraki Range in the northeast to Mt Somers in the south.
Grows on alpine rocks and scree.
Subshrub to 0.2 m tall, or semiwhipcord form. Branches decumbent; internodes (0.15-) 0.25-0.5 mm; branchlets, including leaves, (1.5-) 2-3.5 (-4) mm wide, cruciform in transverse section; connate leaf-bases glabrous; leaves not readily abscising, persistent along the stem for some distance. Leaf bud tightly surrounded by recently diverged leaves. Leaves connate, appressed; lamina deltoid; venation not evident in fresh leaves; margin ciliate; lower surface light to dark green. Juvenile leaves entire, pubescent (with eglandular hook-shaped hairs). Inflorescences with 2-6 flowers, lateral (obscuring vegetative tip when numerous), unbranched, (0.2-) 0.3-0.7 cm; peduncle 0.05-0.2 cm. Bracts opposite and decussate, connate or free (lowest usually free, but sometimes shortly connate; upper often shortly connate), deltoid, obtuse. Flowers male or female (on different plants). Pedicels absent or if evident then always shorter than bracts, 0-0.7 mm. Calyx 1.3-2 mm; lobes ovate or deltoid, obtuse, with mixed glandular and eglandular cilia (but glandular hairs may be obscure). Corolla tube glabrous; tube of male flowers approximately 1.5 x approximately 1.5 mm, contracted at base, equalling calyx; tube of female flowers approximately 1 x approximately 1 mm, contracted at base, shorter than calyx; lobes white at anthesis, ovate or rhomboid (male flowers only), obtuse, suberect to patent, longer than or approximately equalling corolla tube. Stamen filaments remaining erect, 0.7-1.5 mm (Male approximately 1.5 mm; female 0.7-1 mm); anthers purple or violet to magenta, 1-1.2 mm; sterile anthers of female flowers approximately 0.5 mm. Ovary 0.5-0.6 mm; ovules 3-6 per locule, in 2 vertical rows on placenta; style 0.8-1.5 mm (often longer in male flowers than female flowers); stigma more prominent in female flowers. Capsules angustiseptate, obtuse, 2-3 mm long, 1.5-2.5 mm thick. Seeds flattened, ellipsoid to oblong, smooth or finely papillate, pale brown (to orange), 0.8-1 x 0.5-0.7 mm, micropylar rim 0.1-0.3 mm.
Differences from V. cheesemanii require clarification. The two species are distinguished primarily on differences in the profile of branchlets in transverse section (square, at least on older branchlets, in V. cheesemanii cruciform in V. tetrasticha). However, branchlet profiles vary between the two extremes, and differences are not always clear-cut.
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’.
tetrasticha: From Latin, tetra ‘four’ and stichos ‘row, line’, refers to the leaf arrangement.
Plants identified as V. cheesemanii, but with features approaching V. tetrasticha, occur as far north as the Amuri District, as far west as the Leibig Range (Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park), and as far south as the Kirkliston Range. Some of these plants have branchlets that are prominently cruciform near the apex (where leaves are still expanding) but become more or less square with age. Whether some of these plants are better placed under V. tetrasticha is debatable, and at least some have been treated as such by Wilson (1978, 1996), Macdonald (1980) and Heads (1994).
From the distributions given here (see Bayly & Kellow, 2006), V. tetrasticha effectively “replaces” V. cheesemanii in parts or mid-Canterbury. A possible explanation for such a pattern is that V. tetrasticha has differentiated in this area from an historically more widespread, V. cheesemanii like ancestor. Of course, other scenarios are possible (different interpretations of the limits of the species might contradict this one), and whether V. tetrasticha and V. cheesemanii are most closely related is also not known. Analysis of ITS sequences (Wagstaff et al. 2002) does not support a sister relationship, but similarity or flavonoid profiles (Markham et al. 2005) might.
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. 298.
Heads, M. J. 1994. Biogeography and evolution in the Hebe complex (Scrophulariaceae): Leonohebe and Chionohebe. Candollea 49: 81-119.
Macdonald, A. D. 1980. Distribution maps of Hebe in Canterbury as an extension of the Canterbury
checklist. Canterbury Botanical Society Journal 14: 40- 5.
Markham, K.R., Mitchell, K. A., Bayly, M. J., Kellow, A. V., Brownsey, P. J. and Garnock-Jones, P. J. 2005. Composition and taxonomic distribution of leaf flavonoids in Hebe and Leonohebe (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand - l. “Buxifoliatae”, “Flagriformes” and Leonohebe. New Zealand Journal of Botany 43: 165-203.
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
Wagstaff, S.J., Bayly, M. J., Garnock-Jones, P. J. and Albach, D. C. 2002. Classification, origin, and diversification of the New Zealand Hebes (Scrophulariaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:38-63.
Wilson, H. D. 1978. Wild Plants of Mount Cook National Park. Christchurch: Field Guide Publication.
Wilson, H. D. 1996. Wild Plants of Mount Cook National Park. 2nd edn. Christchurch: Manuka Press.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: Ward, M.D. (Year at time of access): Veronica tetrasticha Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-tetrasticha/ (Date website was queried)