Veronica serpyllifolia (Thyme-leaf Speedwell)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Weedy
Habitat:shade, sun; moist woods, grassy places, waste grounds, disturbed soils
Bloom season:May - October
Plant height:4 to 12 inch creeper
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: FACW NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Flower is 1/8 to ¼ inch across, saucer shaped with 4 white or blueish-white round lobes (petals). The lobe on the bottom is smaller and narrower than the other 3. The top lobes are streaked with purple on the inside of the petal. There are 2 stamens coming from the greenish center.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are less than 1½ inches long, oval or round, sometimes with scalloped edges over part of or the entire leaf. There is a very short leaf stalk. Attachment is opposite, except at the top of the plant where the flowers are alternately attached. Stems creep along the ground, the flowering end rising up.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a flattened, heart shaped capsule less than ¼ inch long, wider than long, with a fringe of glandular hairs along the edge. Inside are numerous flattened seeds.


There are 2 vars of Thyme-leaf Speedwell in Minnesota, though these are not universally accepted: var. humifusa, an uncommon native species with bright blue flowers, and var. serpyllifolia, a more common, weedy non-native species with white and purple streaked flowers. This plant is an inconspicuous ground cover and is often hidden in the grass. It is easy to miss unless there is a large patch of it or a speck of white from the flowers catches your eye. When you're out looking for wildflowers, don't forget to look directly down every now and then—you never know what you'll find!

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Vicki H
on: 2009-05-30 18:29:52

My mother has this flower growing like a ground cover next to her house in Gilbert, MN in St. Louis County. Thanks to this site for helping me to identify the flower for my mother. Thanks!

Posted by: John - W. St. Paul
on: 2016-06-01 12:16:15

On May 9, 2016, I spotted some tiny white flowers among the grass in a vacant lot near me. As you've said, sometimes one has to look straight down. Good thing it was so sunny so they were open. Shortly after, on a cloudy, gloomy day it was very hard to see them. Several years ago that lot had a house on it so I have to assume that they came in with the fill, or at least some seeds did, especially since that soil is sandier than the other soil around there.

Posted by: Kris - Isanti
on: 2018-05-26 18:47:44

We have this cute tiny flowers growing in our yard in Spencer Brook Township.

Posted by: Dan Burns - Princeton
on: 2020-05-25 12:41:45

Observed a few plants in southern Mille Lacs County.

Posted by: Sue Keator - Hennepin County
on: 2021-05-13 23:23:49

I have the non-native form in my shady Edina lawn.

Posted by: Melissa Johnson-MacPherson - Eagan, Minnesota
on: 2021-05-14 08:12:54

I have several patches growing happily in my yard. Shout out to a fellow member of MN Gardeners for the identification of the pretty little flower.

Posted by: Sherman - Duluth
on: 2022-02-22 17:22:16

I've observed these tiny 'white streaked with blue' flowers in lawns for many years. They creep but they're fairly compact. Leaves are shiny green. In later years, I spotted MUCH larger clumps of "Common Speedwell" in my lawn, which I had never seen before. It had similar but paler flowers, and larger paler duller leaves. The plants had an overall appearance of a pale blue-gray haze in my lawn. Last fall, for the heck of it, I put a Veronica serpyllifolia from my vegetable garden, into a spare flowerpot. It has been growing well in my kitchen window all winter.

Posted by: Anders - Elk River
on: 2023-05-20 09:29:55

We have sizable patches in some of our low-lying, sandy pastures.

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