A neat shrub 2 to 5 ft high, with erect branches; young shoots pale green, glabrous, except for a thin strip of down reaching from the axil of one leaf to the opening between the pair next above it; leaf-bud with a pronounced sinus. Leaves in four superposed rows, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long, 3⁄16 to 1⁄4 in. wide, oblong inclined to obovate, pointed, rounded at the base, dark glossy green, perfectly glabrous, covered with minute dots beneath; stalk about 1⁄12 in. long, dilated where it joins the stem and slightly hairy there. Flowers white, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. across, produced in June and July at and near the apex of the shoots in closely packed clusters, 1⁄2 to 1 in. long, which are often branched and collectively form a corymb, 1 to 2 in. across, the stalks minutely downy. Sepals narrow oblong, rounded at the end, edged with minute hairs; seed-vessel about twice as long, glabrous.
Native of the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The plant in cultivation under this name and described above is very distinct in general appearance from native grown specimens, which have the leaves much more densely arranged on the stem, and less distinctly stalked. But in all essential particulars they appear to be the same. Probably the differences are due to the different environment of cultivated plants. It reaches up to 4,000 ft altitude in New Zealand, and is one of the hardiest members of this group. It flowers annually, but not freely.
H. buxifolia is very closely allied to, and perhaps not specifically different from:
H. odora (Hook. f.) Ckn. Veronica odora Hook. f. – This species, which owes its specific epithet to its jasmine-like scent, was described by the younger Hooker from specimens collected in the Auckland Islands, which lie between the South Island of New Zealand and Antarctica. Bentham, who described Hebe buxifolia from specimens collected in the North Island of New Zealand, was evidently aware that it was closely allied to Hooker’s species, and according to Dr Lucy Moore there is no reliable difference by which they can be separated except perhaps that in H. odora the margins are ‘minutely crenulated’, not entire as in H. buxifolia. If the two species were to be united, it would be under the name H. odora.
For another member of this complex, see H. anomala.