Veronica persica (Bird's-eye Speedwell)
|Also known as:||Persian Speedwell, Common Field Speedwell|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist to dry disturbed soil; roadsides, waste places, lawns, gardens, farmyards|
|Bloom season:||April - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Elongating racemes of stalked flowers at the ends of branching stems. Flowers are tubular, about 1/3 inch across with four round lobes, the upper 3 all about the same size and the lower much narrower, all bright blue to blue-violet, white at the base and lined with darker streaks. Projecting from the tube are 2 white stamens and a single style.
The calyx surrounding the flower has 4 lance to egg-shaped lobes slightly shorter than the petals, hairless to sparsely hairy on the surface with a fringe of short hairs along the edges. At the base of the flower stalk is a hairy leaf-like bract, similar to the lower leaves but somewhat smaller. Flower stalks are variously hairy and 1 to 3+ times as long as the subtending bract.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are mostly opposite becoming alternate on the upper stem, egg-shaped to nearly round, 1/3 to ¾ inch long, mostly longer than wide, blunt to pointed at the tip, short-stalked to nearly stalkless. The upper surface is sparsely hairy, the lower mostly hairy along the veins. Edges have large, blunt teeth.
Stems are hairy and may reach 16 inches long but are usually sprawling, sometimes rising at the tip (decumbent) or the flowering branches becoming more ascending. Prostrate stems may root at the nodes and form small mats.
The flower stalks elongate and become nodding in fruit. Fruit is a 2-lobed, flattened, broadly heart-shaped capsule less than ¼ inch long, nearly twice as wide as long, the 2 lobes widely divergent, hairless or variously covered in glandular and/or non-glandular hairs. Inside are 10 to 20 round seeds. Dried capsules show a distinct network of prominent veins.
Bird's-eye Speedwell is an introduction native to Asia and parts of Europe, usually found in areas of human disturbance such as lawns, gardens, farmyards, roadsides and empty lots. It is not very common in the midwest and has only been recorded 4 times in Minnesota, though, like many other weeds, may be under-reported. While the 4-parted flowers and heart-shaped fruits are similar to other Veronica species with sprawling stems, the larger than average flowers (over ¼ inch, 7 to 12 mm) on distinctly long stalks, fruits with widely divergent lobes, and lack of glandular hairs except sometimes on the fruit should distinguish it from the others. Most similar is another introduction, Gray Field Speedwell (Veronica polita), not known to be in Minnesota but has been recorded in Wisconsin and Iowa, which has similar leaves and overall hairiness, but smaller flowers on shorter stalks (not much longer than the bracts) and the lobes on the fruit are not divergent like Bird's-eye Speedwell.
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- Bird's-eye Speedwell plant
- Bird's-eye Speedwell volunteered in a landscape planting
- Bird's-eye Speedwell in a campground driveway
- leaves are mostly longer than wide
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Iowa and Arkansas. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Arkansas.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?