Green Field Speedwell
- Name also: Field Speedwell, Green Field-speedwell
- Family: Plantain Family – Plantaginaceae
(formerly Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae)
- Growing form: Annual herb.
- Height: 5–30 cm (2–12 in.).
- Flower: Corolla almost regular (actinomorphic), white and usually bluish–purpleish, 3–6 mm (0.12–0.24 in.) wide, fused, 4-lobed, wheel-shaped, short-funnelled. Calyx 4-lobed, lobes ovate, quite blunt, not overlapping, hairy at least on outside. Stamens 2. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Flowers solitary in leaf axils. Flower-stalk curves downwards in fruiting stage.
- Leaves: Opposite, short-stalked. Blade widely ovate, longer than broad, blunt-based, shallowly serrated with rounded teeth (crenate).
- Fruit: Narrowly notched, flat, shorter than broad, sparsely or only at the edge with glandular hairs, yellowish brown capsule.
- Habitat: Fields, wasteland, gardens, flower-beds.
- Flowering time: July–September.
Most people’s first contact with green field speedwell is when weeding in the vegetable plot. If one takes a break from weeding however to inspect the plant more closely, one can see how attractive its light blue flowers are. In common with other weeds green field speedwell, as an annual, focuses on propagation and flowers in early spring until long into the autumn, even until December in a mild winter. Its charm doesn’t decrease when its flowering time is over because heart-shaped seed capsules are like organic jewellery. The species’ life cycle is usually annual, but sometimes plants that sprout later divide their growth into 2 years. It’s a real miracle that green field speedwell overwinters undamaged even flowering.
Green field speedwell is thought to be native to the Mediterranean area, from where it has spread over almost all of Europe, including the Åland Islands and southern Finland’s gardens and fields and sometimes nearby rocks too. Speedwells would have their own stories to tell about the history of the land: green field speedwell shows quite a clear preference for old dwelling areas, while it’s possible to find Persian speedwell (V. persica; also known as large field speedwell, bird’s-eye, common field speedwell or winter speedwell) quietly establishing itself near newer dwelling areas. Its flowers are larger and darker, its fruit is thinner and its leaves are wider. Green field speedwell shares its south-western Finnish habitats with several other limp-stemmed and small-flowered speedwells, and it is most commonly confused with grey field speedwell (V. polita; also known as grey speedwell) and broadsepal speedwell (V. opaca). Green field speedwell’s capsules are without exception with glandular hairs, while the capsules on the species that it resembles have both glandular hairs and short hairs without glands.