Scientific Name: Veronica officinalis

Common Name: common speedwell

Other Common Names: common gypsyweed

Habit: A low growing perennial plant that creeps along the ground and roots at nodes along round hairy stems. Propagated by seed and stem fragments, plants grow during the fall and early winter and flower during spring to early summer. Leaves may defoliate but stems persist to the fall and sprout anew for the next season.

Leaves: Leaves are opposite on upper and lower plant portions. Each leaf is borne on a short petiole or stalk and broadly elliptically-shaped with jagged edges that have fine sharp teeth. Leaves are hairy. Leaves are typically the same size and shape when found on upper or lower plant portions.

Identifying Characteristics: Upper and lower leaves are the same size and shape and arranged opposite along the stem. Among speedwells, only germander speedwell also has opposite leaf arrangement on both lower and upper plant portions, however, germander speedwell leaves have rounded teeth, unlike the sharp pointed teeth on the margins of common speedwell leaves. Fruit is a tiny heart-shaped pod and pods are arranged in cluster from a single stalk arising from leaf axils. Flowers are tiny, pale blue and borne as clusters (>10 flowers) on long stalks.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers are tiny (2 to 4 mm wide) and borne in clusters on long stalks (> 2 mm) arising from the leaf axils on the upper portion of the erect flowering stem. Flowers are pale blue to white. One flowering stem may contain > 10 small flowers.

Seed Fruit: Fruit is a tiny (3 to 5 mm long) heart-shaped, flat, hairy pod. It is deeply notched on the top and rounded or pointed on the opposite end (point of attachment).

Where Found: Plants grow in lawns, ornamental areas, and winter grain crops. You can also find the plants in open waste places or home gardens 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 dry or sandy soils and shady lawns.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Scrophulariaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Leaf margin: serrated

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Stem hairs: has hairs

  • Flower color: purple; blue; white

  • Growth habit: prostrate and nonwoody; upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: has hairs

  • Root structure: fibrous; stolons present

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Flower diameter: dime; pencil

  • Leaf stalk: shorter than leaf; none