Skip navigation

Weed Identification

purslane speedwell

Family

Scrophulariaceae

Scientific Name

Veronica peregrina

Other Common Names:

neckweed

Habit

A low growing (2 to 6 in usually but up to 14 in) succulent plant with ascending branched stems that radiate from the base of the plant. Seeds typically germinate in fall and seedlings branch at the base, root at nodes, and quickly form a dense mat. Most flowers are produced in late spring but flowering continues into August.

Leaves

Lower leaves are opposite, lack hairs, narrow and long in shape, and have edges that are smooth with the occasional tooth or notch. Upper leaves on flowering stalks are alternate, do not have petioles (leaf stalks), and tend to be more narrow with fewer teeth and generally smaller than lower leaves.

Identifying Characteristics

All plant parts lack hairs. Upper leaves are smaller and more narrow than lower leaves and lack stalks. Fruit is flat and heart shaped. Flowers are tiny and borne on extremely short stalks.

Flower Seed Head

Flowers are tiny (2 to 4 mm wide) and found nestled in the leaf axils on the upper portion of the erect flowering stem. Flowers are white and borne singly on short ( 1 mm) stalks.

Seed Fruit

Fruit is a small (5 to 8 mm long) heart-shaped pod. It is deeply notched on the top and rounded or pointed on the opposite end (point of attachment).

Where Found

Plants grow in damp open soils and along stream banks whereas other speedwells typically thrive in dry sandy soils. You can also find the plants in open waste places or home gardens, typically in low, moist areas but they do not thrive in areas where regular spring tillage is practiced. Plants may be found in many conditions but are best adapted to moist conditions.

Growth Habit

upright and nonwoody

Thorns or Spines

not present

Approximate Flower Diameter

pencil

Dominant Flower Color

Varies: 
white
blue
purple

Flower Symmetry

bilateral symmetry

Leaf Hairs

Varies: 
no hairs
has hairs

Leaf Arrangement

Varies: 
alternate
opposite

Leaf Margin

Varies: 
entire
serrated

Leaf Structure

simple

Leaf Stalk

Varies: 
none
shorter than leaf

Stem Hairs

Varies: 
has hairs
no hairs

Stem Cross Section

round or oval

Milky Sap

not present

Root Structure

fibrous

Life Cycle

winter annual

Ochrea

not present

Plant Type

Herb