Ontario Weeds: Bird's eye speedwell

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Flowers and Fruit
  6. Stems and Roots
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. For more information...

Name: Bird's-eye speedwell, Veronica persica Poir.,

Other Names:véronique de Perse, Bird's-eye, Veronica, véronique de Tournefort

Family: Figwort or Snapdragon Family (Scrophulariaceae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.
Photos and Pictures
Bird's eye speedwell. A. Plant.
Bird's eye speedwell. A. Plant.
B. Flower. C. Seedpod.
B. Flower. C. Seedpod.

Stems & Roots: Similar to Corn speedwell but stems longer (10-40 cm, 4-16 in.), weakly upright or often lying on the ground and rooting from nodes touching the soil; lower leaves opposite (2 per node), short-stalked, rounded to ovate, coarsely toothed; upper leaves similar in shape to the lower ones but alternate (1 per node), stalkless, each alternate leaf with a long-stalked flower in its axil.

Flowers & Fruit: Calyx deeply 4-lobed, 6-8mm (¼-1/3in.) long; corolla blue, 8-11mm (1/3-½ in.) across, flat, 4-lobed; stamens 2; seedpods flat, broadly heart-shaped, the lobes pointing outwards with a shallow notch, and a persistent, long thin style. Flowers and seeds from May to autumn.

Habitat: Bird's-eye speedwell occurs throughout Ontario in lawns, gardens, cultivated fields and waste places.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its rather coarse habit of growth, large roundish leaves on the upper as well as lower parts of the plant, its long-stalked large blue flowers and its flat, broadly heart-shaped seedpods with spreading lobes and persistent, long style. In the fruiting stage, it is sometimes confused with Shepherd's-purse, but is clearly distinct by having each long flower stalk from the axil of a rounded leafy bract and the deeply 4-lobed calyx remaining around the base of each seedpod; whereas in Shepherd's-purse both bracts and sepals being absent from below the seedpods.

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