© Copyright: Images: Jouko Lehmuskallio.
All rights reserved.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Veronica hederifolia

  • Name also: Ivyleaf Speedwell
  • Family: Plantain Family – Plantaginaceae
    (formerly Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae)
  • Growing form: Annual herb.
  • Height: 10–40 cm (4–16 in.). Stem limp, hairy.
  • Flower: Corolla almost regular (actinomorphic), blue–purple, dark-striped, 4–9 mm (0.16–0.36 in.) wide, fused, 4-lobed, wheel-shaped, short-funnelled. Calyx 4-lobed, lobes ovate, at least edges abundantly haired. Stamens 2. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Flowers solitary in leaf axils. Flower-stalk around same length as subtending bract.
  • Leaves: Opposite, stalked. Blade almost round, palmately veined, shallowly 3–5(–7)-lobed, tip lobe bigger than others.
  • Fruit: Oval, glabrous capsule.
  • Habitat: Gardens, arable land, harbours, loading areas, hedgerows, broadleaf woods.
  • Flowering time: May–June.

Ivy-leaved speedwell belongs to a group of limp-stalked speedwells whose flowers are solitary in the axils. It can be easily differentiated from the other species due to its roundish, lobed leaves, which have palmate venation. Ivy-leaved speedwell has established itself as a weed among crops on the Åland Islands, but otherwise it is very rare in the southwest of Finland on the mainland and the archipelago where it occurs only casually. The species usually sprouts at the end of June or in the autumn and survives a mild winter with no cover. In warmer climes it begins to flower in March, and it usually flowers during the summer months. Already in June ivy-leaved speedwell’s short, hectic life is coming to a close and the plant begins to wilt. Like many other weeds it is flexible and can sometimes sprout in the spring and flower in the summer or autumn.

Ivy-leaved speedwell’s small corolla is pale blue and modest looking. To insects, however, it seems interesting, so cross-pollination occurs, at least sometimes. In bad weather the flower stays closed without any negative influence on the development of the seeds and it seems that self-pollination is common. The few, boat-like seeds are surprisingly large. Like other speedwells they have an oily appendage which attracts ants to spread the seed. The adaptation that is connected with this way of spreading the seed is probably also why the flower-stalk curves down as the fruit ripens – it’s easier for ants to reach.

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

Follow us!

Identify species!

Sivun alkuun / Top of the page