Veronica arenaria

Family: Plantaginaceae

Veronica arenaria is a soft-wooded, multiple-stemmed shrub to about 1 metre tall, forming clumps to 1 metre wide. The stems are usually upright.

It has a limited natural distribution in NSW, occurring from the north of the central western slopes into the north western slopes and just into the northern tablelands botanical subdivisions – in a large area bounded by Dubbo-Muswellbrook-Tenterfield and Warrumbungle National Park. It just extends into Queensland, near Stanthorpe and extends to near Warwick.

It is found often on rocky and sandy sites near creeklines in dry riparian-eucalypt woodland.

Veronica spp. have simple and opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are light green and entire or with  with irregular lobes; linear to about 55 mm long and 3 mm wide and mostly sessile.

Veronica produce 4 to 5-lobed tubular flowers – blue, lilac or pink in colour, in arching axillary or terminal racemes. In this species, flowers are produced in terminal racemes to 35 cm long; each flower to 1 cm long by 2 to 3 cm wide; varying in colour from pale violet-blue to deep violet-blue and are both profuse and extremely conspicuous. Blooms are carried from September to May.

Veronica arenaria is found from south-eastern Queensland to the Central West Slopes of New South Wales.

The fruit of Veronica is a capsule. In this species, it is broad-ovate, to 6 mm long and somewhat glossy.

In the garden

Authors’ notes:

Veronica arenaria is a stunning plant with its long racemes of colourful flowers. The species has proved to be drought tolerant and frost resistant.

Best plated in a sunny position with adequate drainage.

Native cottage gardens and rockeries are ideal situations for native veronicas.

Spent flowers should be removed in order to keep plants dense and blooming abundantly.

We bought our first plant a couple of years ago. Since then we have planted many specimens throughout our cold climate garden [near Armidale, NSW]. The species propagates very readily from cuttings and we have built up plant numbers rapidly.


Best propagated from cuttings.

Other information

This species likely regenerates from seed aftre fire. It may be able to sucker from the root zone.

The Veronicas have had a chequered botanical career. All species have been included in the Derwentia and Parahebe genera at various times before becoming Veronica. It is to be hoped that the genus has settled down in a taxonomical sense.

Veronica is a genus of about 500 species, mainly found in the northern hemisphere. Australia has about 20 native species. There are currently 24 species in NSW, 7 of these are introduced.

Veronica – Long-used name applied to plants in this genus (‘speedwells’) and likely links to St. Veronica of the 1st Century.

arenaria Latin – pertaining to sand or sandstone (“of sand”) – referring to the habitats in which it is found

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Veronica arenaria profile page       https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Veronica~arenaria

Atlas of Living Australia – Veronica arenaria profile page https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2892918


By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke