Veronica azurea Colenso, Hebe laevis Cockayne et Allan, Veronica laevis Benth. in DC. nom. illeg., Hebe venustula (Colenso) L.B.Moore
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 = 120
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 | Not Threatened
Previous conservation statuses
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Bushy shrub bearing pairs of glossy oval leaves inhabiting subalpine areas of the North Island (except Tararua Range). Leaves 8-20mm long by 5-8mm wide, narrowing to tip and base. Leaf bud with small gap between leaf bases. Flowers on short stalks, in spikes to 7cm long towards tip of twigs.
Mountains of North Island, including the Raukumara Range, volcanoes of central North Island, Mount Taranaki, and the Pouakai, Kaimanawa, Kaweka, Ruahine and Aorangi ranges.
It occurs chiefly in subalpine shrubland/penalpine grassland, but apparently occurs at lower altitudes in the eastern Wairarapa.
Bushy shrub to 1.4 (-1.8) m tall. Branches erect, old stems dark brown or grey; branchlets green, puberulent, hairs bifarious; internodes (1-) 2-6 (-11) mm; leaf decurrencies evident and often swollen. Leaf bud distinct; sinus narrow to broad, acute. Leaves decussate to somewhat subdistichous, erect to erecto-patent; lamina elliptic to obovate, rigid or coriaceous, concave, (4-) 8-20 (-29) x (3-) 5-8 (-10) mm; apex subacute to obtuse; midrib thickened below and at least slightly depressed to grooved above; margin sometimes cartilaginous, usually minutely papillate and sometimes also ciliate; upper surface dark green, glossy, with few or without evident stomata, glabrous or hairy along midrib or hairy toward base; lower surface green; petiole(0.5-) 1-3 (-6) mm, glabrous or hairy along margins or above. Inflorescences with 7-75 flowers, lateral, unbranched (often exclusively) or with 3 or more branches, 1.4-5 (-6.8) cm; peduncle 0.4-1.4 cm; rachis 1 -3.5 (-5.7) cm. Bracts opposite and decussate or lowermost pair opposite, then subopposite or alternate above, lanceolate (usually) or ovate, subacute or acute. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels 0.5-3 (-7) mm, hairy (usually) to almost glabrous. Calyx 2.3-2.8 (-4) mm; lobes ovate or oblong or rarely lanceolate, subacute. Corolla tube hairy inside, 3-4.2 x 2-2.6 mm, cylindric or funnelform, longer than calyx; lobes while tinged withmauve at anthesis, often white with age, ovate (sometimes broadly) or elliptic or lanceolate, obtuse. patent to recurved, longer to shorter than corolla tube, sometimes with a few hairs toward base on inner surface. Stamen filaments white or faintly coloured, 4-7 mm; anthers mauve to magenta, 2.1-2.6 mm. Ovary approximately 0.9-1.3 mm; ovules approximately 8-10 per locule, in 1 (-2) layers; style 6.5-8 (-11) mm. Capsules subacute, 3.5-5 x 2.3-3.5 mm, loculicidal split extending 1/3-½-way to base. Seeds flattened (sometimes strongly), ellipsoid or ovoid or oblong, not winged to more or less winged, brown, (1.3-) 1.5-2.2 x 1-1.3 (-1.5) mm, micropylar rim 0.3-0.6 mm.
Distinguished from most other species, especially on North Island, by the combination of: acute leaf bud sinuses; non-glaucous, entire leaves; pedicellate flowers; small bracts; and corolla tubes longer than surrounding calyces. Specimens are sometimes misidentified as V. odora (and vice versa), but the species is probably most closely related to, and not clearly morphologically separated from, V. brachysiphon (see notes under those species). Specimens from eastern Wairarapa Taipos often have narrow, acute leaves, and highly branched inflorescences. In these respects, they resemble V. subfulvida, and their relationship to that species is worthy of closer scrutiny.
(December-) January-February (-March)
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’.
A specimen resembling V. venustula is labelled “Kāpiti Island” (WELT 13295). Although Veronica laevis (a synonym of V. venustula) was included in a list of plants introduced to Kāpiti Island between 1924 and 1943 (Wilkinson & Wilkinson 1952), no similar specimens are known from this island, or recorded in vegetation surveys (e.g. Fuller 1985), and the specimen is not represented on the distribution map (see Bayly & Kellow, 2006). Another specimen, labelled “Mount Holdsworth, beside Powell Hut” (AK 51014), is also, in the absence of further evidence for the species’ occurrence in that well-collected area, not represented on the distribution map.
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. 254.
Fuller, S. A. 1985. Kāpiti Island Vegetation. Report on a vegetation survey of Kāpiti Island 1984/85. Wellington: Department of Lands and Survey.
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
Wilkinson, A. S. and Wilkinson, A. 1952. Kāpiti Island Bird Sanctuary: a natural history of the island.
Masterton: Masterton Printing Company.
Please cite as: Ward, M.D. (Year at time of access): Veronica venustula Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/veronica-venustula/ (Date website was queried)