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Hebe

Hebe is a genus of plants native to New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Rapa Nui, the Falkland Islands, and South America. There are over 100 species of Hebe, of which 90 occur in New Zealand. Of the 90 present in New Zealand, only H. salicifolia and H. elliptica extend beyond New Zealand, the remainder being endemic. They are named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe.

Hebe has four perpendicular rows of leaves in opposite decussate pairs. The flowers are perfect, the corolla has four slightly unequal lobes, and the flower has two stamens and a long style. Flowers are arranged in a spiked inflorescence. Identification of Hebe species is difficult especially if they are not in flower. The plants range in size from dwarf shrubs to small trees up to 7 meters, and are distributed from coastal to alpine ecosystems. Large leaved species are normally found on the coast, in lowland scrub and along forest margins. At higher altitudes smaller leaved species grow and in alpine areas there are whipcord species with leaves reduced to thick scales.

Hebes are grown in many gardens and public areas; they attract butterflies. Hebes cope with most soil types, and can be propagated easily from both seed and cuttings. Wild Hebe hybrids are uncommon however there are many cultivated hybrids, such as Hebe x franciscana.

Hebe


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