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Wildflower Guide

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Introduction »
Glossary »

Birdeye Speedwell

Veronica persica

Bloom period: Winter-Summer
Synonyms ↓

Common names: Bird's-eye, Bird-eye Speedwell, Bird's-eye Speedwell, Birdseye Speedwell, Common Field Speedwell, Creeping Speedwell, Creeping Veronica, Persian Speedwell, Winter Speedwell

Latin names: Veronica persica

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A mat of Birdeye Speedwell viewed from above.
Image credit: © J.D. Grimes
A closer look at the flowers.
Image credit: © J.D. Grimes
An extreme close-up of a flower.
Image credit: © J.D. Grimes
A flower and leaves.
Image credit: © J.D. Grimes
The seeds.
Image credit: Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Range Map ↓
Distribution map
Key:
Absent:
Reported (PLANTS):
Reported (Data Group):

Stem

Birdeye Speedwell has hairy stems which run along the ground, spreading to 0.5 m. The branches may lay low to the ground or rise up to 30 cm high.

Leaves

The leaves are round-toothed and short-stalked. Those near the tip of the stem — and from whose axils the flowers grow — are arranged alternately, while those near the base of the plant are opposite. They are hairy and grow to 25 mm long by 20 mm wide, and are round to oval in shape.

Flowers

The flowers have 4 petals and grow singly on stalks from the leaf axils. They are bi-symmetrical, and the lower petal is not as wide as the others. They are 6-15 mm wide and about as tall, on stalks from less than 1-3 cm. In color they are sky-blue, with darker blue lines radiating out from the whitish center. The 4 sepals are egg-shaped with blunt or acute tips, and are usually ciliate. The two black anthers are on curved filaments which protrude a few millimeters from the flower along with the pistil.

Fruits

Fruits are heart-shaped, flattened capsules clasped between the two pairs of sepals. The capsules are about 5-8 mm wide by 3-5 mm thick at maturity, and contain cup-shaped, brownish, bumpy, oval seeds that are about 1 mm or so wide.

Habitat

Lawns, fields, waste places.

Comments

The petals are fused at the very base of the corolla, and as the calyx begins to flatten closed, the corolla is pushed off, and once detached it hangs on the style until falling off. It is quite interesting to watch as throughout much of the day, now and again a corolla will for no apparent reason fall to the ground. The occasional bee is also given a surprise from this upon landing on a flower.

This species' place of origin, and the origin of the name "speedwell" are both somewhat uncertain. The plant was apparently brought over to North America from Europe, but its true origin is thought to be in the East (persica means "Persia"). It is not difficult to think of several ways in which the name "speedwell" could have originated. There are multiple explanations, and the name has been attributed to the plant's medicinal value (giving faster recovery to health), the rapidity with which the plants spread, and a former belief that the flowers were a good omen to travelers.

Similar Species

Many Veronica species have similar flowers, but all can be told from Birdeye Speedwell by general growth form and the shape of the leaves.