Ontario Weeds: Thyme-leaved 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. Related Links

Name: Thyme-leaved speedwell, Veronica serpyllifolia L.,

Other Names: véronique à feuilles de serpolet, Veronica, véronique à feuilles de thym

Family: Figwort or Snapdragon Family (Scrophulariaceae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed and by spreading underground rhizomes and rooting stems.

Photos and Pictures

Thyme-leaved speedwell, prostrate plant with upright flowering stems.
Thyme-leaved speedwell, prostrate plant with upright flowering stems.

Thyme-leaved speedwell. A. Plant. B. Flower. C. Seedpod. Thyme-leaved speedwell. A. Plant. B. Flower. C. Seedpod.

Thyme-leaved speedwell.

Thyme-leaved speedwell.

Stems & Roots: Plants tufted with spreading branches which soon curve upwards into erect stems, or with horizontal stems rooting at nodes touching the ground and producing short erect branches, or occasionally just single erect stems from underground rhizomes; stems 10-30cm (4-12in.) high, somewhat fleshy, very finely hairy; leaves on horizontal stems and lower parts of erect stems, opposite (2 per node), oval to roundish or broadly ovate, lacking teeth or with very fine teeth, stalkless, with 3 to 5 main veins arising from the base of the leaf, the side veins curving in towards the tip; on the upper parts of the stems the leaves (or flower bracts) with flowers in their axils (angle between leaf and stem) are usually alternate (1 per node) and smaller than the lower opposite leaves.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowerstalk usually shorter than its leafy bract; sepals 4, small; corolla flat with 4 lobes, pale bluish-white with blue lines or bright blue; stamens 2; seedpods flat, appearing soon after the blossom falls, deeply notched at the tip, appearing 2-lobed, 4-8mm (1/6-1/3in.) wide, broader than long. Flowers from late spring until late autumn.

Habitat: Thyme-leaved speedwell occurs throughout Ontario in waste places, pastures, roadsides, meadows and lawns. There are at least eight different kinds of speedwell in Ontario and identification may be difficult.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by its perennial habit, lower leaves opposite, somewhat roundish and lacking teeth or with very fine teeth, its short-stalked flowers with white or bluish 4-lobed corolla, its flowers stalk usually shorter than the leafy bract just below it, and its seedpod notched at the end.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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