Hebe (plant)

Hebe /ˈhb/[1] is a genus of plants native to New Zealand, Rapa in French Polynesia, the Falkland Islands and South America. It includes about 90 species and is the largest plant genus in New Zealand. Apart from H. rapensis (endemic to Rapa), all species occur in New Zealand. This includes the two species, H. salicifolia and H. elliptica, that have distributions extending to South America. The genus is named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe.

Scrophulariaceae hebe 'waireka'.jpg
Hebe 'Waireka'
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Tribe: Veroniceae
Genus: Hebe
Comm. ex Juss.

See text

Hebes are widely grown as ornamental plants (see Cultivation below).


Hebe has four perpendicular rows of leaves in opposite decussate pairs. The flowers are perfect, the corolla usually has four slightly unequal lobes, the flower has two stamens and a long style. Flowers are arranged in a spiked inflorescence. Identification of Hebe species is difficult, especially if they are not in flower. The plants range in size from dwarf shrubs to small trees up to 7 metres (23 feet), and are distributed from coastal to alpine ecosystems. Large-leaved species are normally found on the coast, in lowland scrub and along forest margins. At higher altitudes smaller-leaved species grow, and in alpine areas there are whipcord species with leaves reduced to thick scales.


There are differing classifications for the genus and some botanists now include Hebe, together with the related Australasian genera Chionohebe, Derwentia, Detzneria, Parahebe, Heliohebe and Leonohebe, in the larger genus Veronica (hence its common name shrubby veronica).[2][3][4]


Hebe pinguifolia
Hebe speciosa

About 90–100 species, including:


Hebes are valued in gardens in temperate climates as evergreen shrubs with decorative (sometimes variegated) leaves. The flowers, in shades of blue, purple, pink or white, appear throughout summer and autumn. Their ability to withstand salt-laden winds makes them especially suited to coastal areas, for instance the South West of England, where they are often grown as hedges. Prostrate varieties can be used as groundcover.[6][7]

Hebes cope with most soil types, and can be propagated easily from both seed and cuttings. Wild Hebe hybrids are uncommon; however, there are many cultivated hybrids, such as Hebe × franciscana.

The Hebe Society, formed in 1985 under the auspices of the British Royal Horticultural Society, promotes the cultivation and conservation of hebes and other New Zealand native plants.

AGM cultivarsEdit

The following cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit:[8]

  • H. albicans[9] (white, 1m)
  • 'Blue Clouds'[10] (pale blue, 1m)
  • ’Caledonia’[11] (violet, 1m)
  • 'Emerald Gem'[12] (white, 0.3m)
  • 'Great Orme'[13] (pink/white, 1.2m)
  • H. macrantha [14]
  • 'Margret' [15] (light blue, 0.5m)
  • 'Midsummer beauty'[16] (lilac/white, 2.5m)
  • 'Mrs Winder'[17] (violet-blue, 1m)
  • 'Neil's Choice'[18] (violet, 1.2m)
  • 'Nicola's Blush'[19] (pink/white, 1m)
  • H. ochracea 'James Stirling'[20] (white, 0.5m)
  • 'Oratia Beauty'[21] (pink/white, 0.75m)
  • 'Pascal'[22] (violet-blue, 0.5m)
  • 'Pewter Dome'[23] (white, 05m)
  • H. pimeloides 'Quicksilver'[24] (pale violet, 0.5m)
  • H. pinguifolia 'Pagei'[25] (white, 0.3m)
  • 'Pink Elephant' [26] (white, 0.5m)
  • H. rakaiensis[27] (white, 1m)
  • H. recurva 'Boughton Silver'[28] (white, 1m)
  • 'Red Edge'[29] (mauve/white, 0.5m)
  • 'Sapphire'[30] (mauve, 1.5m)
  • 'Silver Queen'[31] (mauve, 1m)
  • H. topiaria[32] (white, 0.5m)
  • H. vernicosa[33] (white, 0.5m)
  • ’Wingletye’[34] (mauve, 0.5m)
  • 'Wiri Dawn'[35] (pale pink, 0.5m)
  • 'Youngii'[36] (violet/white, 0.2m)



  1. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. ^ Thompson, Ken (20 Jan 2011). "Don't judge a plant by appearances". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Hebe or Veronica". Our Changing World. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  4. ^ Garnock-Jones, Philip; Albach, Dirk; Briggs, Barbara. "Botanical names in Southern Hemisphere Veronica (Plantaginaceae): sect. Detzneria, sect. Hebe, and sect. Labiatoides". Taxon. 56: 571–582.
  5. ^ Garnock-Jones, Bayly, Lee, Rance (2000). "Hebe arganthera (Scrophulariaceae), a new species from calcareous outcrops in Fiordland, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 38: 379–388. doi:10.1080/0028825x.2000.9512690.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Wheeler, Chris & Valerie (2002). Gardening with hebes. United Kingdom: Guild of Master Craftsmen. p. 160. ISBN 1861082916.
  7. ^ Brickell, Christopher (2010). The RHS encyclopedia of plants & flowers. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 744. ISBN 1405354232.
  8. ^ "AGM Plants – Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 43. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  9. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe albicans". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  10. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Blue Clouds'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  11. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Hebe 'Caledonia'". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Emerald Gem'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  13. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Great Orme'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Hebe macrantha". RHS. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Hebe 'Margret'". RHS. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  16. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Midsummer Beauty'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  17. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Mrs Winder'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  18. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Neil's Choice'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  19. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Nicola's Blush'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  20. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe ochracea 'James Stirling'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  21. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Oratia Beauty'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  22. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Pascal'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  23. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Pewter Dome'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  24. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe pimeloides 'Quicksilver'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  25. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe pinguifolia 'Pagei'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Hebe 'Pink Eplephant'". RHS. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  27. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe rakaiensis". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  28. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe recurva 'Boughton Silver'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  29. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Red Edge'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  30. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Sapphire'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  31. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Silver Queen'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  32. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe topiaria". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  33. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe vernicosa". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  34. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Hebe 'Wingletye'". Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  35. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Wiri Dawn'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  36. ^ "RHS Plant Selector – Hebe 'Youngii'". Retrieved 5 July 2020.

External linksEdit