A shrub of dense habit, usually 2 to 3 ft high in cultivation, more in spread, branchlets with two lines of down on each internode. Leaf-bud without sinus. Leaves spreading, elliptic, oblong-elliptic or slightly oblanceolate, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 in. or slightly less wide, soft, slightly glossy green above, mat green beneath, glabrous except for the minutely ciliate margins. Flowers white in simple racemes about 2 in. long, including peduncle slightly shorter than the subtending leaf; bracts shorter than the pedicels. Calyx-lobes with a membranous margin. Corolla-tube rather broad, as long as the calyx or slightly shorter; corolla-lobes much longer than the tube. Capsules downy, pointed.
Native of the South Island of New Zealand from mid-Canterbury southwards, on the eastern side of the divide. This species is very common in cultivation but at present (1971) it is almost always seen under the name H. (V.) subalpina. It is a hardy evergreen of neat habit and foliage of a cheerful green.
H. subalpina (Ckn.) Ckn. & Allan Veronica subalpina Ckn.; V. montana J. B. Armstr., not L.; V. monticola J. B. Armstr., not Trautv. – It is not certain if this species is in cultivation; the plants commonly seen under its name are clearly H. rakaiensis. The true H. subalpina differs from that species in its glabrous capsules and has longer leaves, about 1 in. long. It is also of taller growth, and inhabits the western side of the Dividing Range of South Island. If the two species were to be united, which is not likely, the name H. rakaiensis would have priority.