Veronica spicata ssp. incana Veronica longifolia x spicata Veronica gentianoides Veronica gentianoides Veronica gentianoides

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Spiked Speedwell

Veronica spicata

  • Latin synonym: Pseudolysimachion spicatum
  • Name also: Spike-leaved Speedwell
  • Family: Plantain Family – Plantaginaceae
    (formerly Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae)
  • Growwing form: Perennial herb.
  • Height: 10–40 cm (4–16 in.). Stem ascending–erect, unbranched, usually densely grey-haired.
  • Flower: Corolla almost regular (actinomorphic), purple–blue, occasionally white, 6–8 mm (0.24–0.32 in.) broad, fused, 4-lobed, wheel-shaped, with quite long tube (tube longer than broad). Calyx 4-lobed, hairy, also with glandular hairs. Stamens 2. Pistil a fused carpel. Inflorescence a very dense, spike-like terminal raceme. Flower-stalk very short.
  • Leaves: Opposite, stalked. Blade elliptic, hairy, margin sparsely shallowly serrated–with rounded teeth (crenate).
  • Fruit: Spherical, 3 mm (0.12 in.) long, with glandular hairs, yellowish brown capsule.
  • Habitat: Meadows, rocky outcrops. Calciphile.
  • Flowering time: July–August.

Spiked speedwell grows quite commonly on the Åland Islands and quite rarely in the southernmost parts of Finland. Of its genus it is probably one of the oldest aliens that have travelled with people, perhaps already in the time of Vikings travelling the eastern sea route. In Finland it is in most danger of being confused with its larger relative long-leaved speedwell (V. longifolia). Long-leaved speedwell has lanceolate leaves, often in whorls of 3-4, and its margins are more densely and deeply toothed than spiked speedwell. These species can cross-breed, giving rise to a hybrid stand that is capable of reproducing and can go on to breed with either of its parents. This doesn’t happen very often in Finland because the species’ flowering times only partially overlap and they prefer clearly different habitats: long-leaved speedwell likes shores while spiked speedwell thrives on dry rocks, meadows, shingle and yards, mainly in areas with calciferous soil.

Evidence from old habitats indicates that it was spread along the south coast by people who valued its medicinal qualities, but there is no information on how it was used. Nowadays spiked speedwell is also an ornamental. Varieties with different-coloured e.g. white, rose red and dark blue flowers have been created.

Gentian Speedwell

Veronica gentianoides

In Finland gentian speedwell is a rare ornamental which sometimes escapes into the wild but not very far from its home. Gentian speedwell is usually a bit higher than spiked speedwell, its inflorescence is spicate, corollas are light blue or white and the shape of petals resembles more petals of Germander speedwell than petals of spiked speedwell which are clearly narrower..

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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