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Botanical Name: Hebe salicifolia
Species: H. salicifolia
Synonyms: Hebe salicifolia var. paludosa, Veronica salicifolia, Veronica salicifolia var. paludosa
Common name: Koromiko (Hebe Stricta is also called Koromiko), Willow-leaf hebe. Shrubby Veronica.
Habitat: Hebe salicifolia is native to New Zealand. S. America – Chile. Ir grows in hedges.
Hebe salicifolia is an evergreen Shrub growing to 4.5 m (14ft) by 3 m (9ft). It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jun to August. Flowers are white or pale lilac. The leaves are light green, spear-shaped that are up to 12 cm long.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.
Succeeds in most soils so long as they are not boggy or too dry. Prefers a light well-drained soil and a sunny position. Prefers a moist rich soil but plants are probably hardier in a soil that is on the poor side. Lime tolerant. Intolerant of drough. Tolerates atmospheric pollution. Very wind resistant, withstanding maritime exposure. A polymorphic species, it hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.
Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in spring. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the compost to dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow on the young plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. It would probably be worthwhile giving some protection to the plant for its first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half ripe wood, 3 – 5cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up when roots are forming and keep in a frame or greenhouse for its first winter before planting out in late spring. Cuttings of mature wood, late autumn or winter in a frame.
Hebe salicifolia is a plant used by the Maori for a number of medicinal purposes. It is thought to have first been discovered by settlers in the Dusky Sound during one of Captain Cook’s voyages. Rongoa is the Maori term for medicines that are produced from native plants in New Zealand. The Rongoa of the Koromiko are The young leaf tips can be chewed to relieve stomach aches, diarrhoea and dysentery. It was used extensively in the Second World War for this purpose. Dried leaves were sent to New Zealand soldiers overseas to cure dysentery, which proved very effective. The active ingredient is a phenolic glycocide. Leaves can be used as a pack on babies for skin sores. Tender leaves were picked and applied as a poultice for ulcers; this method was also used for the pakiwhara – venereal disease. Used also for headaches, kidney and bladder trouble and British cholera. An infusion of the leaf acts as a powerful astringent and if chewed can promote hunger. Because this plant was so highly regarded for its medicinal purposes, the leaves used to be stored in gourds for later use. A preparation of the plant was also used in the treatment of hawaniwani, a skin disease affecting children. In pregnancy the leaves were pressed between the legs into the woman’s vagina if haemorrhage was present.
A very wind resistant shrub, it can be grown as a shelter hedge in exposed maritime positions. It produces little wood but it is well known for its toughness and elasticity. Koromiko branches give off a lot of heat when burned.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.