Veronica birleyi


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'.

Common Name(s)

Birleys Veronica

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

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 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Veronica birleyi N.E.Br.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Parahebe birleyi (N.E.Br.) W.R.B.Oliv. Parahebe linifolia subsp. brevistylis Garn.-Jones, Veronica colostylis Garn.-Jones, Hebejeebie birleyi (N.E.Br.) Heads


Endemic. New Zealand: South Island (Main Divide from Mt Westland to northern Fiordland; also the Remarkables, Eyre and Hector Mountains)


High alpine (up to 2900 m a.s.l.). Colonising rock shelves, ledges and crevices.


Subshrub, 20-200 mm tall. Old stems brown to grey. Branches decumbent. Branchlets brown or purplish. Vegetative internodes 2–8 mm long. Stem pubescence uniform, eglandular pubescent (rarely a few glandular hairs also present). Leaves decussate, erecto-patent to spreading. Lamina obovate, 4.0–12.0 × 2.5–11.0 mm. Upper surface of leaves greyish dark green or purple, dull. Under surface of leaves dark green or purple, dull. Leaf hairs dense, on all parts of leaf. Apex obtuse or rounded or retuse or truncate. Base cuneate. Margin ciliate and glandular-ciliate (very few glandular hairs), crenate (deeply). Marginal teeth or lobes in 1–3 pairs. Petiole 0–1 mm long. Inflorescence a solitary flower or a pair of flowers (rarely 3), 0.2–0.6 cm long at fruiting. Indumentum of peduncle, rachis, and pedicels sparse to moderately dense. Eglandular hairs of inflorescence patent, white. Peduncle 2–40 mm long, eglandular-pubescent; hairs all around peduncle. Bracts paired and opposite, obtuse, eglandular-hairy adaxially and eglandular-hairy abaxially (usually with some glandular hairs), spathulate (narrowly). Bract margins entire. Pedicels erecto-patent at anthesis, straight at fruiting, 0.3–1.0 mm long, glabrous or eglandular-pubescent; hairs all around pedicel. Flowers: Calyx 4-lobed, 4–6 mm long. Calyx lobes oblong or elliptic, subacute or obtuse. Calyx hairs on both abaxial and adaxial surfaces, mixed eglandular and glandular. Calyx lobe margins entire. Corolla white at anthesis. Nectar guides absent. Corolla 7–10 mm diameter. Corolla tube 2–3 × 1 mm wide, glabrous. Corolla lobes glabrous. Posterior corolla lobe circular to elliptic, emarginate or divided in two, 3.0–4.0 × 1.8-3.0 mm. Lateral corolla lobes elliptic, obtuse, flat, not enfolding stamens, 4–5 × 4–4.5 mm. Anterior corolla lobe elliptic, obtuse, 4.0–4.5 × 2.5–3.0 mm. Stamen filaments white, 2–3 mm long, not narrowed at base. Anthers pink or magenta or mauve, 1.0–1.5 mm long. Nectarial disc glabrous. Ovary ovoid, acute, glabrous, 1.0–1.5 mm long. Style 1.0–1.5 mm long. Stigma 0.3– 0.4 mm wide. Capsules narrowly angustiseptate, emarginate, 3–4 × 3–4 mm, 0.8–1.0 mm thick, glabrous. Septicidal split of capsule extending ¼ way to base. Loculicidal split of capsule extending ½ way to base. Seeds c.10–15 per locule, strongly flattened, smooth-surfaced, ellipsoid, straw yellow to pale brown, 0.8–1.0 × 0.6–0.7 mm.

Similar Taxa

Plants of this species are very similar to Veronica spectabilis which is endemic to the Takitimu Mountains (outside the range of V. birleyi) and which has larger flowers, fewer leaf lobes, more glandular hairs, hairy capsules, and occurs at lower altitudes.


November - December

Flower Colours

Red / Pink,White


December - March

Propagation Technique

Difficult. Should not be removed from the wild.


Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 42

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not Commercially Available


Fact Sheet by P.J. de Lange (5 October 2006). Description adapted from Garnock-Jones and Lloyd (2003).

References and further reading

Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Lloyd, D.G. 2003: A taxonomic revision of Parahebe (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42: 181-232.


This page last updated on 21 Jun 2016