Veronica macrocarpa var. crassifolia Cheeseman, Hebe townsonii (Cheeseman) Cockayne et Allan
Vascular – Native
Trees & Shrubs - Dicotyledons
2n = 40
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: RR, Sp
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon | Qualifiers: RR, Sp
2009 | At Risk – Naturally Uncommon
2004 | Range Restricted
Bush shrub bearing pairs of narrow leaves that have a row of small pits near the margin on the underside of the leaf. Inhabiting lowland limestone in Northwest Nelson. Leaves to 80mm long by 9mm wide, glossy, paler underneath, parallel-edged. Leaf bud with narrow gap between bases of leaves.
South Island - northern and western Nelson, and north Westland. It is known from only a few localities, between Mount Burnell in the north and Punakaiki in the South, mostly near the West Coast, with one record from the Graham Valley, Arthur Range.
Scrub on and around calcium-rich rocks.
Openly branched bushy shrub to 2.5 m tall. Branches erect, old stems (at least on herbarium specimens) brown or greenish-grey; branchlets green or brown or black, puberulent (sometimes with short, harsh antrorse hairs with swollen bases) or glabrous, hairs bifarious; internodes (2-) 5-15 (-18) mm; leaf decurrencies evident. Leaf bud distinct; sinus broad and acute. Leaves erecto-patent to recurved (with age); lamina lanceolate (often narrowly) or linear, coriaceous, flat or slightly m-shaped in transverse section or concave, (24–) 29-80 x (4-) 5-8 (-9) mm; apex acute; margin glabrous (usually) or ciliolate; upper surface dark green, without evident stomata, glabrous or hairy along midrib; lower surface with a regular series of short oblique domatia just within margin. light green; petiole 2-5 mm. inflorescences with 21-42 flowers, lateral, almost always unbranched or rarely tripartite (seen only on some inflorescences), (5-) 8-12 cm: peduncle 0.5-3 cm; rachis 5-10.5 cm. Bracts alternate or opposite and decussate below and becoming alternate above, lanceolate or ovate, acute (usually) to obtuse. Flowers hermaphrodite or female (on different plants). Pedicels 2-8 mm. Calyx (2.5-) 3.5-5.8 mm, 4-5-lobed (5th lobe small, posterior); lobes ovate or lanceolate or deltoid, subacute or acute or acuminate, with mixed glandular and eglandular cilia (but often appearing almost exclusively glandular, with eglandular cilia very short and infrequent). Corolla tube glabrous; tube of hermaphrodite flowers 1-2.5 mm (corolla rather unevenly divided such that tube is approximately 1-1.5 mm on posterior side, and approximately 2.5 mm on anterior side), cylindric, shorter than calyx (posterior side considerably shorter, anterior side only just shorter or about equal); lobes white or mauve at anthesis, ovate, acute to obtuse, suberect to recurved (with age), longer than corolla tube. Stamen filaments white or faintly mauve, 4.5-6 mm; anthers purple or mauve or cream, 1.7-2.1 mm. Ovary sometimes hairy (with a few fine, short hairs), approximately 1 mm; ovules 6-9 per locule: style 4.5-7 mm, occasionally sparsely hairy. Capsules acute or subacute, 3.5-5.5 x 3-4 mm, glabrous, loculicidal split extending 1/4-½-way to base. Seeds flattened (sometimes strongly), broad ellipsoid-ovoid to discoid, not winged or weakly winged, brown, 1-1.4 (-1.6) x 0.9-1.3 mm, micropylar rim 0.2-0.5 mm.
A distinctive species readily distinguished from all others by the presence of two rows of marginal domatia on the undersides of its leaves. It is widely cultivated in New Zealand.
(October-) November-February (-August)
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’.
townsonii: Honours William L. Townson (1855-1926), who provided T. F. Cheeseman with specimens upon which the original description was based.
V. townsonii was recorded from Mt Messenger, North Island, by Simpson (1945) on the basis of (presumably cultivated) plants reportedly derived from wild collections made by R. O. Green. Although subsequent authors (e.g. Moore, in Allan 1961; Eagle 1982; Heads 1993) have also listed this locality for the species, there are no wild-collected specimens; only cultivated specimens suggest this provenance-for example, CHR 103064, 132134, 132135, 180127, WELT 82176 (and these could possibly be derived from the same stock as those examined by Simpson 1945). Recent and concerted searches of Mount Messenger (Druce 1980; Clarkson & Boase 1982) have failed to find the species there, and the report by R. O. Green remains unsubstantiated.
Description adapted by M. Ward from Bayly & Kellow (2006).
References and further reading
Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. 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. 282.
Clarkson, B. R. and Boase, M, R. 1982. Scenic Reserves of West Taranaki. Biological Survey of Reserves Series No. 10. Wellington: Department of Lands and Survey.
Druce, A. P. 1980. 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.
Heads, M. J. 1993. Biogeography and biodiversity in Hebe, a South Pacific genus of Scrophulariaceae. Candollea 48: 19-60.
Simpson, G. 1945. Notes on some New Zealand plants and descriptions of new species (no. 4).
Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 75: 187-202.
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 townsonii Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-townsonii/ (Date website was queried)