Veronica barkeri


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'.
barkeri: Named in honour of Samuel D. Barker (1948-1901)

Common Name(s)

Barker’s koromiko, Chatham Island tree hebe

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Threatened - Nationally Critical

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Threatened - Nationally Critical
2004 - Threatened - Nationally Vulnerable


2012 - CD, IE, RF
2009 - CD, IE


Veronica barkeri Cockayne



Brief Description

Bushy small tree bearing narrow pairs of leaves with a finely hairy margin (lens needed) inhabiting the Chatham Islands. Leaves taper towards tip, to 79mm long by 22mm wide. Leaf bud without gap. Flowers whiteish, in a spike to 8cm long.

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


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.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Hebe barkeri (Cockyane) Cockayne, Hebe gigantea (Cockayne) Cockayne (Veronica gigantea Cockayne) might also belong here but the type material is inadequate to allow confident identification.


Endemic to the Chatham Islands. Found on Chatham, South East and Pitt Islands.


Forest and scrub, especially on coastal scarps, forested streamsides and the banks of incised streams. Often epiphytic on tree fern trunks.


Tree up to 13 m tall producing a dense, rounded to conical, canopy when mature. Branches erect, old stems brown, branchlets green, red-brown or purple, pubescent, hairs uniform; internodes 3–30 mm. Leaf bud pubescent (rarely glabrous) sinus absent. Leaves erecto-patent to patent; lamina 24–90 × 4–30 mm, linear-lanceolate or lanceolate, subcoriaceous, flat to weakly concave, apex acute; margin narrowly cartilaginous, minutely pubescent (hairs eglandular), upper surface yellow-green to light green, midrib distinctly hairy, hairs glandular or rarely eglandular, lower surface paler than upper, conspicuously (or faintly) pitted, each pit containing a single twin-headed glandular hair, midrib hairy, sometimes the rest of the underside also uniformly eglandular pubescent or glabrous. Inflorescence racemose, lateral and unbranched, 20–50-flowered, 28–80 mm long, mostly equal to subtending leaves rarely shorter or longer; peduncle 6–15 mm; rachis 22–68 mm. Bracts alternate, deltoid, oblong, obtuse to acute. Flowers hermaphrodite or gynodioecious. Pedicels 1.0–6.0 mm long, always longer than bracts. Calyx 1.5–4.2 mm long; lobes deltoid, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, acute to obtuse, externally hairy. Corolla tube 1.4–2.0 × 1.6–1.9 mm, broadly funnelform, shorter than calyx; lobes longer than corolla tube, white tinged with pale blue or mauve, or distally or completely dark blue or pink at anthesis, white or pale blue with age, elliptic, lanceolate, rhomboid or ovate, obtuse, cucullate, suberect to recurved. Stamen filaments 4–5 mm long, white, mauve or blue, straight or incurved at apex in bud; anthers 1.5–2.0 mm long, purple. Ovary 1.1–1.3 mm long, ovoid, hairy; style 2.5–4.5 mm long, hairy. Capsules 4.0–5.0 × 2.8–3.3 mm, hairy, loculicidal split extending ⅓–¾-way to base. Seeds 1.1–2.0 × 1.0–1.4 mm, strongly flattened, ellipsoid-oblong to broadly ellipsoid, winged, pale to dark brown.

Similar Taxa

Could be confused with the Chatham Island endemic Veronica dieffenbachii from which it can be distinguished by the tree habit and upright branches. The leaf buds, mid rib and margin are minutely puberulent. The mature leaves are also broadest at their midpoint. The corolla tube also differs from V. dieffenbachii in that it does not exceed the calyx, and is shorter than the corolla lobes.


December - March

Flower Colours



January - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Can be hard to strike from cuttings and difficult to maintain in humid climates.


Extinct in the northern two thirds of the main Chatham Island (though it has been planted at several reserve within that area). Browsing animals (especially cattle, sheep, possums and pigs) pose the greatest threat. Fire and clearance for farming are other threats. Young plants on the ground are highly vulnerable to being browsed. Stem borers can limit fruit production in some seasons. There is some evidence to suggest that isolated trees set lower levels of viable seed. This needs further research.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Seeds are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).




Fact Sheet Prepared by P.J. de Lange (1 November 2009). Description based on Bayly & Kellow (2006) but see also de Lange et (2010)

References and further reading

Bayly M.; Kellow A. 2006: An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes.Te Papa Press: Wellington

de Lange, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Norton, D.A.; Rolfe, J.R.; Sawyer, J.W.D. 2010: Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

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

This page last updated on 16 Feb 2016