A shrub 3 to 5 ft high, with slender branches, minutely downy in a strip above each leaf-axil when young. Leaves 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. long, oval-lanceolate or narrow-oblong, pointed, entire, tapering at the base to a very short, broad stalk (leaf-bud sinus elliptical), somewhat keeled, dark shining green and quite glabrous. Flowers white or pale pink, produced in June and July in a cluster of spikes at the end of the shoot, and thus forming a panicle, or several panicles, each 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, and nearly as wide. Corolla 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. across, with a slender tube about twice the length of the calyx. Anthers blue. Seed-vessel ovate-oblong, glabrous. Bot. Mag., t. 7360.
This species (if such it be) is best known as a garden plant and very few matching specimens have been found since the type was first collected. The peculiarity to which it owes the epithet anomala is that the calyx in the type plant was three-lobed through fusion of the two posterior lobes, but this is not a constant character. Doubts have been expressed whether this hebe is really separable from H. odora (q.v. under H. buxifolia), but the garden plant is distinct enough in its narrower, more pointed leaves and narrow-elliptic leaf-bud sinus.
In previous editions H. anomala was described as being of erect, narrow habit, but the hardy clone now so common in gardens is bushy and grows to about 3 ft high and more in width. This form is also characterised by the pale leaf-margins and young stems. In the original introduction to Kew the young stems were tinged with red, and the same character is noted by J. B. Armstrong in his redescription of the species (Tr. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 13, p. 355).