Veronica verna (Spring Speedwell)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; dry sandy or rocky disturbed soil; roadsides, waste areas, campgrounds
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:2 to 8 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 Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme Cluster type: spike

[photo of flower] Elongating spike-like racemes of short-stalked flowers at the tips of branching stems. Flowers are short-tubular, less than 1/8 inch across with four round lobes, the upper 3 about the same size and the lower noticeably narrower, blue-violet with darker streaks and a light greenish center. A slender style and 2 white stamens extend from the throat. The calyx surrounding the flower has 4 lance-elliptic lobes, about twice as long as the petals and may be of varying lengths. A narrow, leaf-like bract is attached at the base of the short flower stalk. The calyx, bracts and stalks are all glandular-hairy. Usually only 1 to a few flowers are open at the tip of the cluster, with fruit forming on the elongating stem below.

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

[photo of upper leaf] Leaves are opposite, hairy, up to about ½ inch long, 1 to 2 times long as wide, oval to lance-shaped in outline. Lower leaves are short-stalked, toothed around the edges, and tend to wither away early; upper leaves are stalkless and deeply lobed with narrow segments. Stems are erect, unbranched or with a few erect branches from near the base, and hairy.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a heart shaped capsule up to about 1/8 inch long and wide but shorter than the persistent calyx, and hairy on the surfaces with glandular hairs around the edge. Inside are about 8 flattened seeds.


Native to parts of Europe and much of Asia, Spring Speedwell is not very widespread in North America but may well be overlooked due to its similarity to the common Corn Speedwell (Veronica arvensis), which has leaves that are not deeply lobed and its capsule is smooth on the surfaces and glandular hairy around the edge.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken just outside Hastings Sand Coulee SNA, Dakota County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Dakota and Marshall counties.


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