Scientific Name:
Veronica propinqua Cheeseman, Man. New Zealand Fl. 533 (1906)
  • Hebe propinqua (Cheeseman) Cockayne & Allan, Trans. New Zealand Inst. 57: 41 (1926)
  • Leonohebe propinqua (Cheeseman) Heads, Bot. Soc. Otago Newsl. 5: 9 (1987)
Lectotype (designated by Ashwin, in Allan 1961): Mt Maungatua, near Dunedin, 2900 ft, D. Petrie, AK 8258
  • = Veronica cupressoides var. variabilis N.E.Br., Gard. Chron. ser.3, 3: 20, Fig. 5 (1888)
Lectotype (designated by Bayly & Kellow 2004): Edinborough [sic] Botanic Gardens, Sept. 1887, K, single piece with mature leaves, in upper left corner of sheet (which also includes material from Kew Gardens and Hay Lodge, as well as additional Edinburgh specimens collected in 1893)
  • = Veronica propinqua var. major Cockayne, Man. New Zealand Fl., ed. 2, 820 (1925)
  • Hebe propinqua var. major (Cockayne ex Cheeseman) Cockayne & Allan, Trans. New Zealand Inst. 57: 41 (1926)
Holotype: Mt Dick, L. C[ockayne] 8133, Herb. Cheeseman, AK 50973. Isotype: AK 107836
The epithet propinqua means near or close to, probably referring to either relationship or similarity. Cheeseman (1906) did not specify which species he had in mind when applying the name, but he discussed how V. propinqua had been confused with V. salicornioides and V. cupressoides in the past, and added his view that its nearest affinity is with V. armstrongii.
Vernacular Name(s):
whipcord hebe

Spreading low or rounded bushy whipcord shrub to 1 m tall. Stems ascending to erect, eglandular-pubescent; hairs bifarious above leaf axils and in deep grooves between connate leaf bases. Leaf bud indistinct, its outer leaves fully grown, diverging, opposite-decussate, appressed but not covering the usually well-marked node above, coriaceous, broadly ovate to deltoid, 0.7–1.8 mm long, 1.4–3.2 mm wide, dull to more or less glossy green above and beneath; veins not evident; surfaces glabrous; margin shortly ciliate or ciliolate, entire; apex obtuse; base broad, connate in pairs and encircling stem; petiole absent. Inflorescence a terminal spike, 3–9 mm long; flowers crowded, 4–10 per inflorescence, all bisexual; bracts opposite-decussate and connate, deltoid; pedicels absent. Calyx lobes 4, the anterior connate at the base or to about ⅓-way, sub-acute to acute, or acuminate by inrolling of margins, 2.0–2.5 mm long, sub-equal, eglandular-ciliate with a few short glandular hairs as well. Corolla 4.5–6.0 mm diameter; tube white, 1.5–2.1 mm long, = calyx, eglandular-hairy inside; lobes 4, white, sub-erect to recurved, unequal, elliptic to oblong, 2–3 mm long, sub-acute to rounded; nectar guides absent. Stamen filaments white, 3.5–4.5 mm long; anthers magenta. Style glabrous, 2.7–5.8 mm long. Capsules latiseptate, sub-acute to obtuse, glabrous, 1.5–3.0 mm long, 1.4–2.1 mm at widest point. Seeds ellipsoid, flattened, slightly wrinkled, pale brown, 0.6–1 mm long.


Among whipcord hebes, V. propinqua is distinguished by a combination of characters. The plants have calyx lobes that are free for most of their length, leaves that do not overlap so that the well-marked nodal joints are exposed, and leaves that are not longitudinally ribbed.

Plants of V. annulata, V. armstrongii, V. ochracea, and V. salicornioides all differ in having anterior calyx lobes that are usually fused to their apex, and their nodal joints, although exposed, are generally obscure.

Plants of V. hectorii and V. tetragona have shorter internodes, which means their leaves overlap and obscure the well-marked nodal joints.

Finally, V. lycopodioides and V. poppelwellii have distinctive ribbed, longitudinal veins on their leaves.


South Island: Fiordland, Otago, Southland (Livingstone Mountains, Thomson Mountains, Eyre Mountains, The Remarkables, Hector Mountains, Garvie Mountains, Slate Range, Mt Benger, Mid Dome, Umbrella Mountains, Lammermoor Range, Rock & Pillar Range, Mt Ida, Mt Maungatua).


Penalpine grassland and sub-alpine scrub. Recorded elevations range from 580 to 1500 m.

Indigenous (Endemic)

Flowers: October–February; fruits: December–March, persisting longer.


2n = 40 (see Bayly & Kellow 2006, as Hebe propinqua).


Veronica propinqua is classified in V. subg. Pseudoveronica sect. Hebe and informally in the “Flagriformes” group, also known as “whipcord hebes” (Albach & Meudt 2010; Bayly & Kellow 2006). V. propinqua is probably related to the other whipcord hebes, especially those that share its chromosome number, 2n = 40 (i.e., V. hectorii, V. tetragona).

Albach, D.C.; Meudt, H.M. 2010: Phylogeny of Veronica in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres based on plastid, nuclear ribosomal and nuclear low-copy DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54: 457–471.
Bayly, M.J.; Kellow, A.V. 2004: Lectotypification of names of New Zealand members of Veronica and Hebe (Plantaginaceae). Tuhinga, Records of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 15: 43–52.
Bayly, M.J.; Kellow, A.V. 2006: An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes. Te Papa Press, Wellington.
Brown, N.E. 1888: Veronica cupressoides and its allies. Gardeners' Chronicle ser.3, 3: 20–21.
Cheeseman, T.F. 1906: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Government Printer, Wellington.
Cheeseman, T.F. 1925: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Edition 2. Government Printer, Wellington.
Cockayne, L.; Allan, H.H. 1926: The present taxonomic status of the New Zealand species of Hebe. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 57: 11–47.
de Lange, P.J.; Norton, D.A.; Heenan, P.B.; Courtney, S.P.; Molloy, B.P.J.; Ogle, C.C.; Rance, B.D. 2004: Threatened and uncommon plants of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42(1): 45–76. [as Hebe propinqua (Cheeseman) Cockayne & Allan]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Barkla J.W.; Courtney, S.P.; Champion, P.D.; Perrie, L.R.; Beadel, S.N.; Ford, K.A.; Breitwieser, I.; Schönberger, I.; Hindmarsh-Walls, R.; Heenan, P.B.; Ladley, K. 2018: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series. No. 22. [Not Threatened]
de Lange, P.J.; Rolfe, J.R.; Champion, P.D.; Courtney, S.P.; Heenan, P.B.; Barkla, J.W.; Cameron, E.K.; Norton, D.A.; Hitchmough, R.A. 2013: Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 3. Department of Conservation, Wellington. [as Hebe propinqua (Cheeseman) Cockayne & Allan] [Not Threatened]
Garnock-Jones, P.J. 2023: Veronica. In: Breitwieser, I. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand – Seed Plants. Fascicle 9. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Albach, D.; Briggs, B.G. 2007: Botanical names in Southern Hemisphere Veronica (Plantaginaceae): sect. Detzneria, sect. Hebe, and sect. Labiatoides. Taxon 56: 571–582.
Heads, M. 1987: New names in New Zealand Scrophulariaceae. Botanical Society of Otago Newsletter 5: 4–11.