A low or prostrate evergreen shrub, the young stems completely clothed with leaves arranged in opposite, overlapping pairs on the stem. Leaves about 3⁄16 in. long, ovate, pointed, united at the base, distinctly recurved, V-shaped in cross section, glabrous except for a streak of down where the leaves join at the base, dark dull green with pale margins; they persist on the stems for several years. Flowers fragrant, closely packed in compact, egg-shaped, terminal heads, 1⁄2 to 11⁄4 in. long by 3⁄4 in. wide. Each flower is about 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. wide, white, the tube of the corolla slender. Calyx deeply four-lobed, the lobes narrow oblong, as long as the corolla tube, margined with fine hairs.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand; discovered by Dr Sinclair, in 1860, at Tarndale, a few miles from the Wairau Gorge, Nelson. It is a species distinct in the very stiff, thick, rigid leaves, dense compact head of flowers and long slender corolla-tube. It occurs wild at elevations of 3,000 to 5,000 ft and is quite hardy. Suitable for the rock garden. Flowers in July.
H. haastii (Hook. f.) Ckn. & Allan V. haastii Hook. f. – This species is related to H. epacridea but does not have its keeled leaves. Its variations are treated in Fl. N.Z., Vol. 1, pp. 939-40. Both species are figured in Philipson and Hearn, Rock Garden Plants, plates 48 and 46 respectively.