Veronica arvensis (Corn Speedwell)

Plant Info
Also known as: Wall Speedwell
Genus:Veronica
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Eurasia, North Africa
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; disturbed soil; lawns, roadsides, waste areas
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:2 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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 Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Elongating racemes of tiny stalked flowers at the ends of branching stems. Flowers are tubular, about 1/8 inch across, with four round lobes, the upper 3 slightly larger and the lower slightly smaller, deep blue, violet or white streaked with a light greenish center. 2 short white stamens and light tipped style project slightly from the throat. A leaf-like bract, generally elliptical and densely hairy, is attached at the base of the flower stalk so the flowers appear to arise from the leaf axils. A single flower only opens for a short period mid-day, after which the petals wilt and fall away to be replaced by other flowers the next day.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Lower leaves are oval to round, up to about ½ inch long, 1 to 2 times long as wide, short stalked, with palmate veins and several shallow rounded teeth, becoming more elliptic, mostly toothless, alternate and stalkless along the upper stem. Stems and leaves are covered in short hairs, more sparse lower on the stem becoming very dense at the growing tips. Multiple branches form at the base, sprawling along the ground and becoming more erect at the tips.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a heart shaped capsule up to 1/8 inch long and wide, with fine hairs around the edges.

[photo of seed] A capsule contains many tiny oval golden seeds, the oblong germ in the center darker colored like the yolk of an egg.

Notes:

Native to Eurasia, corn speedwell has spread to nearly all of North America. Its size makes it inconspicuous but it is common in lawns, gardens, fields and other disturbed sites. There is little doubt that this species is under-reported in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in Katy's back yard in Ramsey County.

Comments

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

Posted by: Scott - Saint Paul
on: 2013-09-09 11:54:33

Was taking a walk at Harriet Island the other day. Saw these unbelievably miniscule flowers all over the sod.They were amongst birdsfoot trefoil and other tiny invasives. I figured they were too. Now I know that you've helped me ID them. Hopefully the mighty Mississippi hasn't already carried them all over creation.

Posted by: Laurie O - Cozy Camp Park in Elk River
on: 2017-05-10 15:31:14

Spotted this blooming on the trail next to the prairie.

Posted by: Ted Grannan - Near BWCA.
on: 2019-03-19 09:15:20

One of my favorite early Spring Wildflowers! Use a lens to enjoy it's beauty!

Posted by: Mary Markes - Apple Valley
on: 2021-05-22 11:04:38

All over our lawn this spring. (2021)

Posted by: Gina M Picht - Eden Prairie
on: 2022-07-20 15:11:33

Get them in my lawn every year and always hand pull. Now wondering if I should leave them for pollinators?

Posted by: B. Carlson - Prior Lake, Scott County
on: 2023-05-24 18:24:44

I noticed this growing in my lawn this year for the first time and I've lived here since 1989. Is this something that would be a good groundcover grass substitute, or is it a hideous invasive like the creeping bellflower I am battling?

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2023-05-25 06:47:45

B. Carlson, I've had this in my own lawn for many years and have not found it aggressively spreading like creeping charlie or other lawn weeds. It pulls easily from my veggie garden.

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