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An evergreen shrub of bushy habit 1 to 2 ft high; young shoots carrying leaves eight to twelve to the inch. Leaves obovate-oblong, abruptly pointed, scarcely stalked, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄6 to 1⁄2 in. wide, rather glaucous when young, becoming dark green, quite glabrous. They appear to be mostly entire but are sometimes sparsely toothed. Flowers white, 1⁄4 in. wide, produced densely in racemes about 1 in. long from the terminal leaf-axils during July and August. Corolla-tube shorter than the calyx.
Native of the North Island of New Zealand, collected first on the Ruahine Mountains by W. Colenso, whose original specimens have some distinctly toothed leaves. The plant figured as V. colensoi in the Botanical Magazine, t. 7296, is not the true plant, nor are some of the plants going by this name in cultivation or under the name H. colensoi ‘Glauca’.
The true species was reintroduced by Graham Hutchins in 1981 by means of cuttings from New Zealand. It is given high praise by Laurie Metcalfe (op. cit., p. 118) as a shrub for small gardens, growing 11⁄2 to 2 ft high, with grey foliage and flowering very freely in spring and early summer.
The clone first distributed in the late 1970s as ‘H. colensoi aff.’ is H. ‘McEwanii’, described in the main work on page 351.
V. hillii Col