Veronica americana (American Speedwell)
|Also known as:
|part shade, sun; swamps, seeps, stream banks, ponds
|May - October
|4 to 20 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Racemes of 10 to 15 stalked flowers at the top of the stem and arising from the upper leaf axils. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across with 4 petals, 3 about the same size and 1 smaller. Color is light blue to lavender to nearly white, fading to white at the base with a few darker streaks that act as nectar guides. 2 stamens and a single style project from the green center. The green sepals are about as long or a little longer than the petals.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are ½ to 3 inches long, mostly 2 to 4 times as long as wide, hairless, mostly lance to egg-shaped with blunt to pointed tips but may be broader and more elliptical in the lower plant. Leaf edges are serrated to nearly toothless. All leaves are short stalked. Stems are unbranched, hairless, often reddish, erect to prostrate, and rooting at the nodes.
Fruit is a 2-lobed, hairless, slightly flattened capsule slightly wider than long, containing up to 30 seeds.
American Speedwell is widespread in North America and can be found in about half the counties in Minnesota. While not uncommon, it is not that frequently encountered as it prefers slow moving streams, swamps and seeps—not prime recreation areas! It often grows partially submerged and tends to form colonies from creeping rhizomes as well as rooting at the nodes. A very similar species is Water Speedwell (Veronica catenata), the most noticeable difference is its stalkless leaves where V. americana are stalked.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken at Battle Creek Park, Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, Sherburne County, and Whitewater Willdlife Management Area, Winona County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?