Scientific Name: Veronica americana

Common Name: American speedwell

Habit: Rhizomatous perennial

Leaves: Leaves: Generally oval to elliptic in outline, widest at the base and pointed at the tip. Leaves are approximately 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches long, 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. Leaves are usually shallowly toothed and occur on short petioles. The leaves that occur on the upper flowering stems clasp the stem at their base. Stems: Grow erect or may grow prostrate along the ground with the flowering tips upright (decumbent growth habit). Stems may reach as much as 2 feet in length as they are capable of rooting at the nodes.

Identifying Characteristics: Aquatic speedwells with attractive light blue flowers that are usually partly in and partly out of the water. American speedwell can be found in swamps or along the banks of streams and ponds. The aquatic growth habit, oval to elliptic leaves with petioles, and small light blue flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of American speedwell. Water speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica) is very similar in appearance and growth habit, however this species has leaves without petioles (sessile) unlike American speedwell. This weed may also be confused with Creeping Primrose (<a href='../../weedimg/426'>Ludwigia palustris</a>), however this aquatic weed generally has some portion of the plant under water, often has red-tinged foliage, and does not have blue flowers.

Flower Seed Head: Flowers: Occur in clusters at the ends of the erect flowering stems. Flower clusters range from 2 to 6 inches in total length and contain many small light purple to light blue flowers. Each flower consists of 4 petals and is approximately 4 to 5 mm in total width.

Seed Fruit: A capsule. Fruit is scarcely notched.

Where Found: American speedwell is somewhat rare but can be found in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Scrophulariaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: opposite

  • Leaf shape: lance; oval

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire; serrated

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Flower color: blue; white; purple

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody; prostrate and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Flower diameter: pencil

  • Flower symmetry: bilateral symetry

  • Root structure: rhizomes present

  • Leaf stalk: none; shorter than leaf