Veronica vernicosa var. gracilis Cheeseman, Veronica vernicosa var. multiflora Cheeseman, Veronica greyi J.B.Armstr., Hebe vernicosa (Hook.f.) Cockayne et Allan
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 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
Spreading low growing untidy shrub bearing pairs of glossy oval leaves inhabiting beech forest treelines of northern South Island. Leaves 5-20mm long to 8mm wide, with scattered hairs on margin (lens needed). Flowers white, tube hidden by green base, in spikes to 7cm long towards tip of twigs.
Northern South Island. from Gouland Downs in the northwest to the St James Range in the south, and as far east as the Robertson Range, near Picton.
Grows in beech forest at a range of altitudes, often at or near the treeline.
Spreading low shrub to 0.8 m tall. Branches spreading or ascending, old stems dark grey or brown; branchlets green or brown, hairs bifarious to uniform (hairs on leaf decurrencies often finer and shorter than those between); internodes 1.5-7 mm; leaf decurrencies evident or obscure. Leaf bud distinct; sinus broad and acute or almost shield shaped. Leaves subdistichous, patent or erecto-patent; lamina elliptic or obovate, very slightly concave, 5-20 x (2.5-) 3.5-7.5 (-8) mm; apex apiculate and obtuse or subacute; midrib depressed to grooved above and thickened below (at least slightly); margin sometimes cartilaginous, glabrous or ciliolate; upper surface dark green, glossy, with few or without evident stomata, hairy along midrib (usually) or glabrous; lower surface dull or slightly glossy (but less so than upper surface). Inflorescences with (9-) 12-35 (-43) flowers, lateral, unbranched, (1.6-) 2.5-5 (-7.2) cm; peduncle (0.2-) 0.5-1.2 (-1.4) cm; rachis (1.2-) 1.6-5.5 (-6) cm. Bracts mostly opposite and decussate below and becoming alternate above or alternate, ovate or deltoid, obtuse to acute, glabrous outside. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels 0-3.5 mm. Calyx (1.2-) 1.4-1.8 (-2.5) mm; lobes ovate to elliptic, almost always obtuse or rarely subacute (e.g. in some material from Picton and Pelorus Sound). Corolla tube glabrous, 0.6-1.5 x 0.8-1.3 mm, shorter than calyx; lobes white at anthesis, ovate (sometimes narrowly) or elliptic, obtuse, suberect to patent, longer than corolla tube. Stamen filaments 3-5 (-5.5) mm; anthers pale pink or white, approximately 1.25-1.75 mm. Ovary 0.7-1.4 mm; ovules approximately 9-10 per locule; style 2.7-5.5 mm. Capsules subacute or obtuse, 2.8-4.2 x 1.6- 2.5 mm, loculicidal split extending ¼-½-way to base. Seeds flattened, ellipsoid or obovoid or oblong, pale brown, 1.3-1.5 x 0.9-1.1 mm, micropylar rim 0.3-0.5 mm.
Most similar to V. canterburiensis, with which it often co-occurs. Specimens with flowers or fruits are readily separated, but sterile specimens can be difficult to identify. V. vernicosa differs by having corolla tubes shorter than calyces; calyces (1.2-) 1.4-1.8 (-2.5) mm long; usually longer, tapering inflorescences of (1.6-) 2.5-5 (-7.2) cm; pale pink or white anthers. It has, in comparison to V. canterburiensis, a more restricted ecological range, occurring in or at the margins of beech forest and (although it can be common at or near treeline) is not widespread in open, subalpine habitats.
(December-) February-May (-September)
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’.
The locality “Arthur’s Pass” given on CHR 63350 (G. Simpson, undated) is probably erroneous, and is not represented on the distribution map (see Bayly & Kellow, 2006).
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. 226.