Veronica chathamica


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'.
chathamica: From the Chatham Islands

Common Name(s)

Chatham Island koromiko

Current Conservation Status

2012 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon

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 - At Risk - Naturally Uncommon
2004 - Range Restricted


2012 - IE, RR
2009 - IE


Veronica chathamica Buchanan



Brief Description

Very low growing sprawling shrub bearing pairs of oval leaves and rounded flower spikes on a distinct stalk inhabiting coastal sites of the Chatham Islands. Leaves 8.5-33mm long by 5.5-16mm wide. Leaf bud without gap at base. Flowers often tinged purple, in a rounded spike to 4cm 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


Veronica coxiana Kirk, Veronica chathamica var. coxiana (Kirk) Cheeseman, Hebe coxiana (Kirk) Cockayne, Hebe chathamica (Buchanan) Cockayne et Allan


Endemic. New Zealand: Chatham Islands (Chatham, Pitt, Mangere, Little Mangere, South-East, Star Keys, Sisters, Forty Fours, and Rabbit Islands –also many near shore rock stacks)


Mostly coastal though can occasionally be found growing well inland on exposed rock outcrops, and common along the shores of Te Whanga. Usually in salt meadow, on cliff tops, on rock stacks, on cobble beaches, more rarely in coastal forest around petrel burrows.


Spreading low shrub often form mats up to 1 m across and 0.25 m tall. Branches prostrate, decumbent or pendent, rooting freely from nodes, old stems brown or grey; branchlets green or red-brown, pubescent; internodes 1.9-25.5 mm. Leaf bud distinct; sinus mostly absent, if present, small and rounded. Leaves erecto-patent to recurved; lamina elliptic, obovate or oblanceolate, coriaceous, flat, 8.5-33.0 × 3.3-16.5 mm; apex subacute to obtuse; margin narrowly cartilaginous, usually glabrous, sometimes pubescent, often red-tinged; upper surface green to dark green, dull, glabrous, occasionally minutely hairy along midrib, lower surface light green, glabrous, rarely hairy along midrib. Inflorescences with 20-40 flowers, lateral, unbranched, 13-41 mm; peduncle 5-20 mm, rachis 2-18 mm. Bracts alternate often with lowermost pair opposite, then subopposite or alternate above, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, acute, margins glabrous, occasionally hairy, usually hairy outside. Flowers hermaphrodite. Pedicels 1.0-2.6 mm. Calyx 2.5-4.0 mm; lobes linear-lanceolate or deltoid, acute, ciliate, usually hairy outside. Corolla tube hairy inside and occasionally outside, 2.5-4.0 × 2.0-2.3 mm, cylindric, usually = or > calyx (rarely < calyx); lobes white, tinged purplish mauve, completely dark purple-mauve, elliptic or ovate, obtuse, patent, shorter than corolla tube, hairy inside, sometimes scarcely, and then only on the base of the inner surface. Stamen filaments 4.0-4.5 mm long; anthers pale brown or pale mauve, 2.0-2.4 mm. Nectarial disc ciliate or glabrous. Ovary sometimes hairy, 1.2-1.5 mm; style 5-6 mm, glabrous or sometimes hairy. Capsules subacute, 3.5-5.0 × 2.5-3.5 mm, glabrous or occasionally minutely hairy, loculicidal split extending to ¼ way to base. Seeds flattened, broad ellipsoid to sub-discoid, brown, 1.2-1.6 × 0.9-1.3 mm.

Similar Taxa

Related to Veronica dieffenbachii with which it readily forms hybrids. From that species it is distinguished by the prostrate, creeping growth habit, smaller leaves which are wider than long, and much smaller inflorescences. Veronica dieffenbachii is usually found in less exposed sites in coastal scrub, on the margins of forest, or on limestone outcrops


December – July

Flower Colours

Violet / Purple,White


January – December

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from cuttings, rooted pieces and seed. A very attractive Hebe species which is excellent in a rock garden, pot or hanging basket, and great in a coastal garden. Sadly flowering is often erratic in warmer more humid climates.


A Naturally Uncommon, range-restricted island endemic. Of the three Chatham Island endemic hebes, this species is the most common and least threatened. However, in disturbed sites it commonly forms hybrid swarms with Veronica dieffenbachii, and in some sites such as Kaiangaroa hybrids are more common than either parent.

Chromosome No.

2n = 40

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

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


Fact Sheet by Peter J. de Lange (18 August 2006): Description modified from Bayly and Kellow (2006)

References and further reading

Bayly, M.; Kellow, A. 2006: An illustrated guide to New Zealand Hebes. Te Papa Press, Wellington.

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 22 Feb 2016