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An Illustrated Guide to Hebe

A major new research project at the
Museum of New Zealand
Te Papa Tongarewa

Reproduced from an article by

Patrick Brownsey

and

Phil Garnock-Jones

From The New Zealand Garden Journal (Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture), Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1996, pp. 9-10.

Hebe stricta var. atkinsonii (P. J. Garnock-Jones)

Hebe is New Zealand's largest genus of plants and an iconic element of our terrestrial flora. It includes over 100 species, all but three are endemic to New Zealand. Hebes occur throughout the country, particularly in Riparian communities and in the alpine and subalpine zones, where they display a variety of growth forms. Many are widely cultivated, both here and overseas, and over 1000 cultivars are now named.

The most recent account of the genus is by Lucy Moore in Volume 1 of the Flora of New Zealand published 35 years ago. Since then botanical exploration has revealed many new species, whilst others such as Hebe breviracemosa, H. armstrongii, H. cupressoides, are now known to be rare or endangered. Also, molecular biology can now provide new insights into evolutionary relationships.

Earlier this year the Museum gained funding from the Public Good Science Fund for a 6 year biosystematic research project to determine the morphological and chemical characteristics, distributions and habitat preferences of all species in the complex and to test hypotheses about their variation and evolution by cladistic analysis. The main output will be a comprehensive and fully illustrated guide to the genus written for both horticulturists and botanists. Popular publications and scientific research papers will also be produced, and workshops run for special interest groups.

Leading the multi-disciplinary project is Dr Patrick Brownsey, known for his work on New Zealand ferns. He will be assisted at the Museum by a newly appointed post-doctoral researcher, Michael Bayly, who is completing a Ph.D at the University of Melbourne on the Australian genus Eriostemon (Rutaceae) and who will bring new cladistic and biogeographic skills from one of the world's foremost biosystematic schools. Two other research groups will collaborate with the Museum:

Professor Phil Garnock-Jones from Victoria University of Wellington whose knowledge and previous research experience of Hebe will be critical
Dr Ken Markham and Kevin Mitchell from Industrial Research Ltd who will investigate the flavanoid chemistry of Hebe to help resolve the relationships of the different species

Completing the team will be botanist and leading plant photographer, Dr Bill Malcolm, renowned for two previous books, The Forest Carpet and New Zealand's Alpine Plants — inside and out. He will photograph all species of Hebe to show their habit, flowers, fruit and seeds to complement the text descriptions.

The project is already under way, but will gain full impetus when Michael Bayly joins the Museum staff in early October. Meanwhile, there are many other people already conducting research on various aspects of Hebe and we want to establish contact with them to ensure that our work complements what they are doing. We are establishing a database of all other Hebe research and would be interested to hear from people doing such work or who have significant collections of native species.

The two authors can be contacted at the following addresses:

Patrick Brownsey (PatB@tepapa.govt.nz)

Museum of New Zealand
Te Papa Tongarewa
Box 467
Wellington

Phil Garnock-Jones
Professor of Plant Science

School of Biological Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand

Web-notes:

2001 update on Hebe research at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

By Mike Bayly, July 2001

Since publication of the article shown above, work on the Hebe research project based at Te Papa has progressed steadily towards its objectives of revising the species-level classification of the genus, testing hypotheses about its evolution and producing an illustrated guide and computer-based interactive key for the identification of species.

The research to date has involved field work throughout New Zealand, and almost all species have been collected and/or observed and photographed in the wild. These field collections and observations, together with specimens from major New Zealand herbaria, are the basis for information being gathered on the distributions, ecology, and morphological and chemical variation of species. They are also, together with specimens from major living plant collections, the source of material from which photographs of all species are being taken. Descriptions to be used in the guide have now been written for 81 species. The team at Industrial Research Ltd have investigated the flavonoid chemistry of 24 species in detail, and Dr Bill Malcolm has taken 1460 close-up photographs of hebes.

Ahead of publication of the illustrated guide, a range of scientific papers will be prepared, and ten of these articles (listed below) have so far been published or have been submitted for publication. One resolves the taxonomy of the Hebe parviflora complex (Bayly et al. 2000) and two detail the flavonoid characters contributing to this revision (Mitchell et al. 1999, 2001). Two other papers describe the new species Hebe arganthera and H. calcicola (Garnock-Jones et al. 2000, Bayly et al. 2001). Prof. Phil Garnock-Jones (1997, 2001) has written two general articles on Hebe and its relatives and, in collaboration with Dr. Steve Wagstaff from Landcare Research (Wagstaff & Garnock-Jones 1998, 2000), and other researchers (Wagstaff et al. submitted), has prepared a series of articles on the evolution of Hebe and related groups based on variation in DNA sequences. Other Hebe papers are in preparation, and a revision of Parahebe by Phil Garnock-Jones is nearing completion.

In recent times, two additional staff members have joined the Hebe research team. Dr. Alison Kellow, formerly of the University of Adelaide, is working both at Industrial Research Ltd on flavonoid chemistry, and at Te Papa preparing scientific articles and compiling species descriptions and distribution information. Tim Galloway, botanical artist and former plant collection manager at Te Papa, is working on the compilation of photographic plates to be used in the illustrated guide and interactive key.

At present, we are working towards producing drafts of the book and the interactive key by Christmas 2002. The book will then be sent out to relevant people for review, and the key to interested users for testing. Suggestions and improvements will be incorporated and the final versions submitted for publication in 2003.

Publications

Bayly, M. J.; Kellow, A.; de Lange, P. J.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Garnock-Jones; P. J.; Brownsey, P. J. 2003: Geographic variation in morphology and flavonoid chemistry in Hebe pubescens and H. bollonsii (Scrophulariaceae), including a new infraspecific classification for H. pubescens. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 23-53.

Bayly, M. J.; Kellow, A.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; de Lange, P. J.; Harper, G. E.; Garnock-Jones; P. J.; Brownsey, P. J. 2002: Descriptions and flavonoid chemistry of new taxa in Hebe sect. Subdistichae (Scrophulariaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 40: 571-602.

Bayly, M. J.; Garnock-Jones, P. J.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Brownsey, P. J. 2000: A taxonomic revision of the Hebe parviflora complex (Scrophulariaceae), based on morphology and flavonoid chemistry. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38: 165-190.

Bayly, M. J.; Garnock-Jones, P. J.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Brownsey, P. J. 2001: Description and flavonoid chemistry of Hebe calcicola (Scrophulariaceae), a new species from north-west Nelson, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 39: 55-67.

Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1997: New Zealand alpine Hebe and its relatives. Southern Alpines '96: 70-77.

Garnock-Jones, P. J. 2001: Hebe: origins and evolution. Pp 8-15 In: L.J. Metcalf, International Register of Hebe cultivars. Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture.

Garnock-Jones, P. J.; Bayly, M. J.; Lee, W. G.; Rance, B. D. 2000: Hebe arganthera (Scrophulariaceae), a new species from calcareous outcrops in Fiordland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38: 379-388.

Kellow, A. V.; Bayly, M. J.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Garnock-Jones, P. J. 2003: Variation in morphology and flavonoid chemistry in Hebe pimeleoides (Scrophulariaceae), including a revised subspecific classification. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 233-253.

Kellow, A. V.; Bayly, M. J.; Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Brownsey, P. J. 2003: A taxonomic revision of Hebe informal group "Connatae" (Plantaginaceae), based on morphology and flavonoid chemistry. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 613-635.

Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Bayly, M. J. 1999: 6-Hydroxyluteolin-7-O-ß-D-[2-O-ß- D-xylosylxyloside]: a novel flavone xyloxyloside from Hebe stenophylla. Phytochemistry 52: 1165-1167.

Mitchell, K. A.; Markham, K. R.; Bayly, M. J. 2001: Flavonoid characters contributing to the taxonomic revision of the Hebe parviflora complex. Phytochemistry 56: 453-461.

Wagstaff, S. J.; Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1998: Evolution and biogeography of the Hebe complex (Scrophulariaceae) inferred from ITS sequences. New Zealand Journal of Botany 36: 425-437.

Wagstaff, S. J.; Garnock-Jones, P. J. 2000: Patterns of diversification in Chionohebe and Parahebe (Scrophulariaceae) inferred from ITS sequences. New Zealand Journal of Botany 38: 389-407.

Wagstaff, S. J.; Bayly, M. J.; Garnock-Jones, P. J.; Albach, D. C. 2002: Classification, origin, and diversification of the New Zealand hebes (Scrophulariaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89: 38-63.

2006 Book Release

The book An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Hebes, by M. J. Bayly and A. V. Kellow, was published in 2006.

Available from Touchwood Books

Some Hebe Links

The RNZIH image Gallery of Hebe cultivars

Hebe Book Reviews — reviewed by Tony Hayter for The Hebe Society (UK)

International Register of Hebe Cultivars — this book, written by Lawrie Metcalf, provides an invaluable reference for all those interested in growing Hebe as garden plants, as well as those involved in correct naming of cultivars.

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