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