Greek hebe — youth.
Evergreen shrubs and occasionally small trees. Branchlets with pronounced leaf scars. Leaves simple, opposite, often decussate, entire or toothed, leathery, stalked or not, sometimes waxy. Flowers solitary or in axillary clusters, white, pink, blue or violet. Calyx and corolla mostly with 4 lobes. Stamens 2. Ovary superior. Fruit a dehiscent capsule.
Grown for the range of habits, formal evergreen foliage and attractive flower spikes. Several foliage types are recognised: a small group of species with small, closely held leaves is referred to as the Whipcord Hebes, others have leaves closely resembling the hedging Box and still others have distinctive pale waxy-blue or grey leaves. A new genus, Heliohebe, has recently been erected and includes the former Hebe hulkeana.
Hemiphragma is a 1-species genus from the Himalaya and is occasionally cultivated as H. heterophyllum.
A range of cultivars is available from Naturally Native in Omahanui, New Zealand. Cultivars are registered by the New Zealand Institute of Horticulture.
Seed and semi-hardwood cuttings.
Unlike Veronica, mostly woody evergreen shrubs (not deciduous and herbaceous). Parahebe has flattened capsules that divide transversely while Hebe has more or less globular capsules dividing longitudinally.
About 75 species from Australasia and temperate S America.
Chalk (1988), Hobbs (1991), Garnock-Jones (1993), Hutchins (1997).
The numerous hybrids and other cultivars and variations in the range of species available make the construction of an identification key of doubtful value. The descriptions draw attention to major distinguishing characters.
Source: (2002). Scrophulariaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Although many of the cultivated species are native to New Zealand, there has been introduction of new cultivars from the UK.
Low-growing shrub with dark purplish stems, obovate grey leaves and short dense clusters of violet flowers that are white in the tube.
Seedling of 'Tobarcorranensis' raised c. 1900 at Smith's Daisy Hill Nursery, Newry, Co. Down, Ireland.
H. albicans is probably one parent but the other(s) is uncertain.
A rounded shrub to about 30 cm tall. Leaves ovate, about 0.5 cm long, 3 mm wide. Flowers in a spike to 1 cm or so long of pale lilac decussate flowers.
Origin unknown but probably introduced by County Park Nursery, Essex, UK.
Rounded shrub to slightly less than 1 m tall with small leaves directed forwards but spreading at the tips. Almost a whipcord kind with leaves dark green. Rarely flowers.
Christensen collected plants in the Hanmer district of New Zealand with Dr l. Cockayne and it is possibly a natural hybrid from that district with H. odora possibly one of the parents.
A dense, cushion-like shrub growing to 30 cm tall. Leaves densely spaced, about 3 mm long,1.5 mm wide, round-toothed at first. Flowers small and white in summer. ['McKean']
A semi-whipcord hybrid found by Mr H. McKean in 1970 on the Ruahine Range, North Island, New Zealand, as a possible cross between H. odora and H. subsimilis.
Shrub to nearly 1 m tall with red-margined leaves and abundant open sprays of flowers.
Originated in the nursery of Mr Martin, Fairfield, near Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand. Probably a hybrid, Heliohebe hulkeana × H. lavaudiana. Now treated as Heliohebe × fairfieldii (Hook. f.) Garn.-Jones. [H. 'Fairfieldensis']
Small shrub to about 0.5 m tall. Leaves 3-5 cm long, about 1 cm wide, leathery, blunt-toothed. Flowers prolific, rose-purple, tube about 2.5 mm long, shorter than the lobes.
A seedling of H. raoulii (seed parent) × Heliohebe hulkeana raised by W.B. Brockie in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand.
Now treated as Heliohebe 'Hagley Park'.
Prostrate, spreading shrub to 10 cm tall. Leaves 1.2-1.6 cm long, 4-7 mm wide. Flowers violet with a white tube, but fading. [H. 'Hartiana']
H. diosmifolia is probably a parent.
Possibly originated in the garden of Hart and Darton, Weatherstones, Otago, South Island, New Zealand.
A rounded shrub to over 1 m tall. Leaves bronzish, obovate, to about 4 cm long. Flower spikes about 2.5 cm long, early summer.
A hybrid, H. diosmifolia × H. speciosa, raised at Headford, Co. Galway, Ireland, from New Zealand seed.
Compact shrub to about 1 m tall with purplish branchlets. Leaves spreading, 2.5-4 cm long, 1-1.2 cm wide, oblong to oblanceolate, dark green, leathery. Flower clusters 4-5 cm long, occasionally branched. Flowers purplish with white tube, eventually fading to white.
A hybrid, H. diosmifolia × H. speciosa, raised in New Zealand pre-1957.
Shrub to about 1.5 m tall. Branchlets purplish. Leaves purplish at first and with purplish margins, 7–11 cm long, 2–4 cm wide, elliptic, dark green above. Flower clusters to about 10 cm long. Flowers violet.
A presumed hybrid of H. speciosa originating in France.
Shrub to about 75 cm tall with leaves dark green, close together, 4-6 cm long, 1.5-2 cm wide. Flowers in short lateral clusters, pink in bud but fading to white.
Originated around Auckland with H. albicans probably a parent.
Plant Varieties Journal 11(4)51.
Shrub to 1 m or so tall. Leaves 3-4 cm long. Flower clusters white, to 6 cm or so long, long-flowering, with main flush in late spring and another in autumn.
A hybrid with H. parviflora a probable parent.
Origin New Zealand, post- 1980.
Shrub to over 1 m tall. Branchlets slightly purple. Leaves 6-7.5 cm long, 2.2-2.5 cm wide, oblong to oblanceolate. Flowers dark purple. Stamens deep purple, hardly protruding. [H. 'Violet Miracle']
One of a series of recent New Zealand introductions including the cultivars 'Wiri Cloud', 'Wiri Dawn', 'Wiri Gem', 'Wiri Grace', 'Wiri Image', 'Wiri Joy', 'Wiri Mist', 'Wiri Spears', 'Wiri Splash' and 'Wiri Vision'
Spreading, densely branched shrub to abut 20 cm tall. Leaves broadly obovate, to about 1 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. Flowers violet, with white throat, in open clusters to about 4 cm long; late spring to early summer.
A chance cross, H. elliptica × H. pimeleoides, that probably arose in the garden of James Spedon Gore. It was named in Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand, commemorating the former curator, James Young.