spring speedwell

(Veronica verna)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

spring speedwell

NatureServe

NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable

Minnesota

not listed

Weed Status

Not listed in Minnesota

Nativity

Native to Europe, Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Morocco.

Occurrence

Uncommon but spreading rapidly in North America, currently rare in Minnesota.

Habitat

Dry. Meadows, pastures, lawns, roadsides, trailsides, campgrounds, and parking lots. Full sun. Poor soil in sandy, gravelly, and rocky places.

Flowering

May to June

 
Flower Color

Blue

 
Height

2 to 6

 
 
Identification

Spring speedwell is an uncommon but rapidly spreading exotic weed. It is native to Europe, Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Morocco. It was introduced into North America and is now naturalized and rapidly spreading in two widely separated ranges. The eastern population is in the upper Midwest from Ohio to Minnesota and in Canada from New Brunswick to Ontario. The western population is from Washington to Wyoming and in British Columbia. It is uncommon throughout its range, currently rare in Minnesota. It is found in meadows, pastures, lawns, roadsides, trailsides, campgrounds, and parking lots. It grows in full sun in dry, sandy, gravelly, and rocky places with poor soil where it receives reduced competition form other species. It is difficult to see when standing upright, is easily overlooked due to its small size, and is very similar in appearance to the much more common corn speedwell. For these reasons, it is probably under-reported.

Spring speedwell is an erect, annual forb that rises on a single stem from a taproot. It can be 2 to 10 tall but in Minnesota it is usually no more than 6 in height. The stem is usually unbranched but sometimes has a few branches near the base that curve upward becoming more or less parallel to the main stem. It is moderately covered with white, curly, non-glandular hairs and also with gland-tipped hairs, especially in the inflorescence.

The leaves below the inflorescence are opposite while the leaf-like appendages (bracts) within the inflorescence are alternate. Leaves on the lower stem are short-stalked, while those in the middle and above are stalkless. The leaf blades are egg-shaped (widest below the middle) to broadly elliptic (widest at the middle), 3 16 to ½ (5 to 12 mm) long, to ¼ (4 to 7 mm) wide. Many leaves have 2 to 6 narrow lateral lobes, shallow lobes on the lower leaves, very deep lobes on the upper leaves. The upper and lower surfaces are moderately covered with both short, stiff, non-glandular hairs and spreading, gland-tipped hairs. The margins may be toothless or have a few shallow, rounded teeth. The lower leaves wither, turn brown, and fall away as the plant matures.

The inflorescence is a moderately dense, unbranched arrangement (raceme) of many flowers at the end of the stem and branches. Each flower is on a short, 1 64 to (0.5 to 2.5 mm) long stalk. At the base of each pedicel there is a single bract. Lower bracts are lance-shaped and lobed. Upper bracts are long and straight-sided (linear), unlobed, and untoothed.

Each flower is 1 16 to (2 to 4 mm) wide. There are 4 outer floral leaves (sepals), 4 petals, and 2 stamens. The sepals are green, to 3 16 (3 to 5 mm) long, and covered with gland-tipped hairs. They are fused at the base into a short calyx tube, then separated into 4 narrowly lance-shaped lobes. The petals are medium blue with dark veins, about half as long as the sepals, and fragile, easily knocked off the plant. The upper and lateral petals are round to egg-shaped and about equal in size, the lower petal is much narrower. The stamens are shorter than the petals, the stalks (filaments) only 1 64 long (0.5 to 0.6 mm) long.

The fruit is a (3 mm) long, (4 mm) wide capsule with about 8 tiny seeds. The capsule is yellowish-brown, heart-shaped, flattened, and covered with gland-tipped hairs.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Plantaginaceae (plantain)

 

Tribe:

Veroniceae

 

Genus:

Veronica

 

Subgenus:

Chamaedrys

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

spring speedwell

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.

 

Linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

Pedicel

In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

       
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Created: 12/15/2019

Last Updated:

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