Plantaginaceae : Plantain Family — Veronica (Speedwell)

American Brooklime – Veronica americana

Blooms:

May–Aug

Plant Height:

5–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Native

Habitat:

Stream beds and margins

Notes:

These flowers are similar to those of Persian Speedwell (Veronica persica, see below), but the petals have flecks of red, with dark lines radiating from the center.  It likes wet places, and is generally found alongside streams.  The leaves are opposite, petioled, larger and more pointed than those of Persian Speedwell.  Fruits are smooth to barely notched.

Great Water Speedwell – Veronica anagallis-aquatica

Blooms:

June–Oct

Plant Height:

10–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Streams and ditches

Notes:

This is a common speedwell, with pale lavender to pale blue flowers, much lighter than those of American Brooklime (Veronica americana, see above).  The leaves are elliptical to ovate, 1.5–3 × as long as wide.  This can be confused with Broad-fruited Water Speedwell (Veronica catenata, see below), but the flowers are noticeably larger (5–10 as against 3–5 mm across), and the fruits are either not notched, or just barely so.

Corn Speedwell – Veronica arvensis

Blooms:

Apr–July

Plant Height:

10–40 cm

Flower Size:

Very small

Origin:

Eurasia

Habitat:

Meadows, waste places

Notes:

This has the smallest flowers of any of the speedwells, no more than 5–6 mm across.  Their deep violet-blue color is a little darker than the flowers of Persian Speedwell (Veronica persica, see below).  The flowers  appear nested in the upper leaves, having very short pedicels (only 0.5–2 mm long, compared to 15–30 mm in Persian Speedwell).  The sepals are in two pairs, the outer longer than the inner.  The fruits are distinctly notched, and hairy on the margins.  The leaves at the base of the stem are triangular to ovate, with slightly serrate or crenate margins.  The upper leaves are narrower than those found on Persian Speedwell.  The whole plant is hairy, occasionally glandular.

Broad-fruited Water / Chain Speedwell – Veronica catenata

Blooms:

July–Aug

Plant Height:

20–60 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Europe

Habitat:

Wet places, streams and ditches

Notes:

This can be mistaken for Great Water Speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica, see above), which is found in similar habitats.  But its pinkish flowers are noticeably smaller (3–5 as against 5–10 mm across), its leaves are much narrower (3–5 × as long as wide) and its fruits have a distinct notch.

Persian Speedwell – Veronica persica

Blooms:

Feb–May

Plant Height:

10–40 cm

Flower Size:

Small

Origin:

Asia Minor

Habitat:

Lawns, waste places

Notes:

This is a common lawn weed, low growing and somewhat inconspicuous.  It is immediately recognizable, by its small bright blue and white flowers.  The upper petal has a reddish-purple line near its base.  The flowers are similar to those of American Brooklime (Veronica americana, see above), but the two plants are found in such contrasting habitats that they should not be confused.  The leaves are also very different, ovate, truncate, with markedly serrated or crenate margins, and tips that are acute or obtuse.