Veronica

Scientific name

Veronica L.

Common names

speedwell, brooklime, bird's eye, gypsyweed

Family

Plantaginaceae

Native distribution

northern temperate regions

Species cultivated

six species available either commercially or through hobbyists

Veronica americana Schwein. ex Benth

V. anagallis-aquatica L.

V. anagalloides Guss.

V. beccabunga L.

V. catenata Pennell

V. scutellata L.

Adventive distribution

temperate regions worldwide

Weed status

may be a troublesome weed locally

Habit

small to medium, seasonally submerged to emergent herb

Brief description

Rhizomatous or stoloniferous. Foliage and fruit glabrous or with sparse capitate glandular hairs. Stems decumbent to erect, simple to many-branched, ± succulent, often rooting at lower nodes. Leaves opposite, decussate; typically sessile, or shortly petiolate; leaf blade lanceolate, elliptic to ovate, oblong; apex round to acute; base ± lobed or amplexicauline; margins entire to serrate; venation pinnate. Inflorescence an axillary, occasionally terminal raceme bearing few to 50 flowers; pedicels straight to spreading; bracts linear. Flowers actinomorphic; sepals 4, free, ovate to lanceolate; corolla tube short, 4-lobed, lobes broadly ovate, slightly unequal in width; stamens 2; stigma typically capitate, or 2-lobed; blue, purple, pink or white.

Natural habitat

wetlands; along margins of bodies of water, in wet meadows, swamps, stationary or slow-moving water

Additional comments

Veronica contains nearly 200 species. Aquatic species in the genus are mainly within section Beccabunga. Due to variations in local populations across its wide distribution, Veronica has an unstable taxonomic history; it was formerly placed in the family Scrophulariaceae.