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Veronica officinalis

Veronica officinalis L.

 

Common Speedwell

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyPlantaginaceaePlantains
GenusVeronicaFor Saint Veronica, said to have given Jesus a cloth to wipe his face on the way to Calvary, and named because of a supposed resemblence between markings on some Veronica species and her sacred handkerchief
SpeciesofficinalisLatin for “of the shops, sold in the marketplace, official”

About plant names...

Common speedwell is well established in North America, but it is a European import that escaped cultivation, originally from Europe and Asia. It occupied an area at the edge of my lawn until goldenrods eventually got the upper hand.

Identification: These plants are inconspicuous, forming mats by creeping, 2-10" (5-25 cm) in height. Leaves are ovate to elliptic, narrowing at the base, ½-2" (1.3-5 cm) long, opposite, and toothed. Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, on spikes (racemes); flowers appear only on the upper portions of the flower stems. Flowers are irregular in shape, ⅛" (5 mm) in size, and pale violet in color. They appear from April to July.

Medical: Speedwell is used in a bitter, tangy tea as an expectorant; also as a diaphoretic, diuretic, and general tonic. It contains aucubin, a glycoside with anti-inflammatory, diuretic and liver protective actions. Studies of its liver-protective functions appear promising. Like other common plants, it has been used for many other purposes which have not been confirmed with studies and are now generally discredited: abdominal complaints; as a general cure-all; a cancer treatment; for treatment of eczema; to speed healing of minor wounds; as a “blood purifier;” a kidney stimulant; an antiasthmatic; and a treatment for small pox and measles. It contains vitamins E, K, and C; antioxidant phenols; β-sisterol, sometimes used to reduce cholesterol; and omega-3 fatty acids.

Online References:

Veronica officinalis on CalPhotos

Veronica officinalis at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Veronica officinalis on gobotany.newenglandwild.org

Veronica officinalis at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Veronica officinalis on Discover Life

Veronica officinalis on herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com

Veronica officinalis on www.anniesremedy.com

Veronica officinalis on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

References:

Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 2½ × 2½" (7 × 6.7 cm) ID is uncertain

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

5/27/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 8" (15 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Veronica officinalis description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 9 Oct 2013.

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Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

4/11/2008 · Memphis, TN · By Tim Chandler

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (15 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 4½" (12 × 11 cm) ID is uncertain

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

7/16/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, MA ID is uncertain

Veronica officinalis (Common Speedwell)

5/30/2010 · Hayes Wood Conservation Trail, Shirley St., Pepperell, MA
≈ 8 × 5" (19 × 13 cm) ID is uncertain

Range:

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