More than 80% of the native plant species in New Zealand, only occur in New Zealand. Some have an even smaller natural range, which makes them particularly unique.

Banks Peninsula (South Island, New Zealand) has several such species, including a Hebe. It only naturally occurs on Banks Peninsula, amongst rocky outcrops and on exposed cliff faces. It was already rare, but now it is having to compete with weeds like gorse, and browsing by goats and possums.

It is an attractive little plant, which makes a nice option for a native pot plant. The rounded, dull green, leathery leaves have red crenate edges.

The Hebe has around 100-150 flowers, in a compact cluster. The flower buds are tinged with pink, followed by white flowers.

The Banks Peninsula Hebe is susceptible to mildew, so we are growing it in a pot, to make it easier to maintain. We have it in a north-facing but exposed location, and we water it without getting the leaves wet.

The current name for the Banks Peninsula Hebe is Veronica lavaudiana. As for many Veronica, there have been many name changes for this species. Synonyms include Hebe lavaudiana (Raoul) Cockayne et Allan; Heliohebe lavaudiana (Raoul) Garn.-Jones; and Parahebe lavaudiana (Hook.f.) Heads.

Further Information

  • de Lange, P.J. (2020): Veronica lavaudiana Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (25-Sep-2020)
  • Eagle A (2006) Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand. Te Papa Press
  • Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1993: Heliohebe (Scrophulariaceae Veroniceae), a new genus segregated from Hebe. New Zealand Journal of Botany 31: 323-339.
  • Garnock-Jones, P.J.; Albach, D.; Briggs, B.G. 2007: Botanical names in Southern Hemisphere Veronica (Plantaginaceae): sect. Detzneria, ect. Hebe, and sect. Labiatoides. Taxon 56: 571-582

Botanic Gardens are always interesting to visit, any time of year. Since there are 1,775 botanic gardens in 148 countries world-wide*, you may find one near you (you can search here).

The Cuningham House conservatory, which houses sub-tropical plants.
Winter roses (Hellebore sp.) – members of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).
Hyacinth flowering.
Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris).
Rosehips in The Heritage Rose Garden, near the Hospital.
Bark of Père David’s maple (Acer davidii).
Pine mound.
Nursery, near the Visitor Centre
Native plants, near the Visitor Centre.

There is a summary of the collections in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens here, more detail here, and a map here.


On a recent visit to Travis Wetland we saw many webs of the nursery web spider (Dolomedes minor), which builds a nest to protect its young.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2520

The spiders typically build these nursery in low growing shrubs, such as this Coprosma bush. The nest below is probably about to be vacated by the spiderlings.

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2524

We did get a (somewhat blurry!) video of the seething mass of spiderlings.

We didn’t see any of the adult spiders, though apparently the females were probably hiding nearby – they guard the nests at night. The nest below is now empty, though there is a spider on the bottom left, perhaps a juvenile?

CINJAT nursery web spiders IMG_2605

There is detailed information about the Dolomedes genus in New Zealand here. There are four species here, with Dolomedes minor being the most common.

For more photos, including of the adult spiders, see here.

Flickr Photos

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