A shrub 1 to 3 ft high, with the branches erect or ultimately prostrate. Leaves glaucous, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, 1⁄3 to 2⁄3 in. broad, broadly oblong or oval, cupped, superposed in four vertical rows and closely set together, rounded at the apex, the bases overlapping, heart-shaped, not stalked, but partially clasping the stem. Flowers white, 1⁄4 in. across, stalkless, borne from leaf-axils near the end of the shoot in simple or branched spikes 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, the main-stalk of which is minutely downy; bracts long, concealing the calyx-lobes. Ovary downy near apex. Capsules rounded. Bot. Mag., t. 7370.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand in the Canterbury province; discovered by Armstrong about 1880 and soon after introduced. It is allied to, and about as hardy as H. carnosula and H. pinguifolia. From the former it is distinguished by its downy ovary and round-tipped seed-vessel, and from both by its stem-clasping leaves, heart-shaped at the base, and in the longer, sometimes branched inflorescence.
H. albicans (Petrie) Ckn. Veronica albicans Petrie – This species, which is very near to H. amplexicaulis, is given provisional recognition in Flora of New Zealand (Vol. 1, p. 919), where it is stated that ‘the best contrasting characters are probably the glabrous subacute capsules, smaller bracts and obvious pedicels of lower flowers’. Petrie’s description appears to have been based, at least partly, on a plant introduced by F. W. Gibbs from Mount Cobb in Nelson province and, according to Cockayne and Allan, this clone, which they considered to be of hybrid origin, was the sole representative of H. albicans in New Zealand gardens (Tr. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 57 (1927), p. 35; ibid., Vol. 60(1929), p. 468). In Britain, plants agreeing essentially with H. albicans are variable in size and relative width of leaf, but the leaves are always of the oblong order, not or scarcely narrowed at the base. They are usually of horizontal habit, 1 to 2 ft high; but much more in width.
A very distinct hebe cultivated by Messrs Jackman of Woking is near to H. albicans but makes a dense rounded bush and has leaves relatively narrower than in that species, narrowed to branchlet width at the base.