Hebe salicifolia (Koromiko)
Genus: Hebe Species
Botanical name: Hebe 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.
Hebe salicifolia which is found throughout the South Island of New Zealand and in Chile. It is large, evergreen shrub, reaching 2 m in height, with light green, spear-shaped leaves that are up to 12 cm long. Flowers are white or pale lilac.
Koromiko 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.
Koromiko produces little wood but it is well known for its toughness and elasticity. Koromiko branches give off a lot of heat when burned.
End of flowering seeds forming. Westcoast early March
The flowers can have a bluish tinge