A shrub usually more or less prostrate, and rarely more than 1 ft high with us, occasionally 3 ft high in New Zealand, young shoots with a vertical strip of down above each leaf-axil. Leaf-buds with a pronounced sinus. Leaves glaucous green, scoop-shaped, obovate, pointed, 1⁄3 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 2⁄3 in. wide; narrowing to a stalkless base, closely superposed in four rows. Flowers densely crowded in spikes near the end of the shoot, the whole forming a dense terminal cluster; flower-stalks very downy. Flowers 1⁄4 in. across, white; sepals erect, as long or rather longer than the corolla-tube, edged with minute hairs. Ovary, style and seed-vessel free from down, the last pointed.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand, where it is said to be rare. In describing this hebe Hooker said it really differed from H. pinguifolia only in having glabrous, acute capsules. But Dr Moore has pointed out that Hooker’s type specimen ‘differs in other ways also, particularly in the distinct sinus in the leaf-bud’. Garden plants under the name H. carnosula also show this character and are well distinguished from the common run of H. pinguifolia, and resemble Hooker’s type, in their large, fleshy, semi-erect leaves and glabrous capsules.
H. carnosula is a very pleasing little evergreen, making low densely leafy tufts of a striking glaucous hue, and of neat appearance. It is also one of the hardiest of the group and grows well on the rock garden in the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge.