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Persian Speedwell

Veronica persica

  • Name also: Large Field Speedwell, Common Field Speedwell, Bird’s-eye Speedwell, Winter Speedwell
  • Family: Plantain Family – Plantaginaceae
    (formerly Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae)
  • Growing form: Annual herb.
  • Height: 5–30 cm (2–12 in.). Stem limp–ascending, sparsely haired.
  • Flower: Corolla almost regular (actinomorphic), blue, lowermost lobe white, 8–12 mm (0.32–0.48 in.) wide, fused, 4-lobed, wheel-shaped, short-funnelled. Calyx 4-lobed, lobes lanceolate, with tapered tips, do not overlap, hairy along edges, otherwise glabrous. Stamens 2. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Flowers solitary in leaf axils. Flower-stalk longer than subtending bract, descending oblique in fruiting stage.
  • Leaves: Opposite, short-stalked. Blade widely ovate, light green, large-toothed.
  • Fruit: Very widely notched, flattish, twice as long as wide, net-veined, capsule only with glandular hairs.
  • Habitat: Gardens, vegetable gardens, lawns, fields, wasteland, harbours, loading areas.
  • Flowering time: June–September.

There are almost 20 species of speedwell in Finland, of which only 8 are native – speedwells are a highly mobile kind of plant! Persian speedwell has made itself at home in Finland a long time ago: its original home is the lower slopes of Asia’s rainy mountains. The plant spread to central Europe with people in the 19th century and reached Finland at the end of the same century. First it arrived in the ballast soil of sailing ships, then later with ornamental plants and mixed in with lawn seed. Persian speedwell may still be occasionally found in new lawns and flower beds all over the country. It has managed to establish itself in vegetable allotments in southern Finland. The regular turning of the earth there means that it remains a good place for annual species – Persian speedwell doesn’t grow in land that is covered with other vegetation.

Compared to green field speedwell (V. agrestis), which thrives in the same habitat, Persian speedwell’s corolla, capsule and even leaves are all almost twice as large. Additionally Persian speedwell’s capsule is clearly net-patterned when it’s dried.

Slender Speedwell (Creeping Speedwell, Threadstalk Speedwell, Whetzel weed)

Veronica filiformis

In Finland it’s also possible to find the delicate, low-growing rockery plant slender speedwell. Its leaves are small and roundish or kidney-shaped, and the flowers are bluish white, just like Persian speedwell. It seems that slender speedwell demands pollen from another plant in order for its seeds to develop. All the slender speedwell in Finland is probably cloned, which would explain why the seed capsule is not produced.

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

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