A shrub 1 to 3 ft high, branches at first erect, often ultimately prostrate; minutely downy when young, stained with purple beneath each pair of leaves. Leaves closely superposed in four rows, obovate, blunt at the apex, tapered to a broad stalkless base, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 in. wide, quite entire, concave or scoop-shaped, dull glaucous green. Flowers white, 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 in. diameter, stalkless, crowded on spikes 3⁄4 to 1 in. long which are borne in the terminal leaf-axils, rachis of spike downy. Calyx with four minutely downy, oblong, blunt divisions. Corolla-tube scarcely as long as the calyx; ovary and style downy. Seed-vessel oblong or obovate, rounded at the apex, downy, nearly twice as long as the calyx. Bot. Mag., t. 6147 and 6587.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand; introduced about 1868. It is killed by very severe frosts, but survives most of the winters in the South of England, flowering about midsummer, although not abundantly nor regularly. It is very similar to, and much confused with H. carnosula, under which name it was figured in the Bot. Mag., t. 6587. The differences between the two are in the often comparatively broader leaves of H. carnosula, its glabrous ovary and style, and its ovate, pointed, glabrous seed-vessel.
cv. ‘Pagei’. – A low shrub making a clump about 1 ft high and 2 to 3 ft across. Young stems plum-coloured. Leaves very glaucous, oblong-elliptic or slightly obovate, 1⁄2 in. or slightly more long. Flowers white, in short clusters, borne in May or even earlier in a mild spring and often again in late summer. A.M. 1958. For a note on the history and botany of this cultivar by J. Souster, see Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 83 (1958), pp. 301-4. It is very beautiful when well grown and needs a sunny position and a well-drained soil.