Veronica persica (Bird's-eye Speedwell)

Plant Info
Also known as: Persian Speedwell, Common Field Speedwell
Genus:Veronica
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Asia
Status:
  • Weedy
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 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.

[photo of calyx and flower stalks] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of upper leaves] 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.

[photo of stem and leaf hairs] 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.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] 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.

Notes:

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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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Iowa and Arkansas. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Arkansas.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Gary - Carlton
on: 2020-01-16 10:12:10

There are a few of these that show up in my lawn every now and then. Definitely not Veronica serpyllifolia (I have that species, too).

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