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Grey Field Speedwell

Veronica polita

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, meadows, roadsides, wasteland.

Blue, 4 petals
Dark blue solitary flowers. 3 to 6mm in diameter. 2 stamens. Insect-pollinated.
A hairy, yellowish-brown fruit capsule. Flat and slightly notched.
Short-stalked, greyish to dark green, oval, toothed leaves. The leaves are shiny, hairless and deeply serrated. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. The stems are hairy. A prostrate annual, often found growing on bare, cultivated ground.
Other Names:
Chickweed, Field Speedwell, Gray Speedwell, Grey Speedwell, Smooth Speedwell, Wayside Speedwell.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Veronica polita is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is commonly known as the "smooth speedwell." The plant has blue or purple flowers and can be found growing in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides. It is considered a weed in some areas due to its ability to spread rapidly.


Grey Field Speedwell, or Veronica polita, is a beautiful and delicate wildflower that can be found in many parts of the world. It is a member of the Plantaginaceae family, and is commonly known as the grey field speedwell, grey speedwell or leadwort speedwell. This flower is popular among gardeners for its lovely blue-purple flowers and its ability to attract pollinators.

Grey field speedwell is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows to a height of up to 60 centimeters. It has small, lance-shaped leaves that are grayish-green in color, and its flowers grow in clusters at the top of the plant. The flowers themselves are small, with four petals that are blue-purple in color, and they bloom from May to September.

This plant is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to many other parts of the world, including North America. It is often found in fields, meadows, and along roadsides, and it prefers sunny areas with well-drained soil.

One of the most interesting aspects of grey field speedwell is its ability to attract pollinators. Its flowers are a source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other insects, making it an important plant in maintaining biodiversity. This is particularly important in areas where habitat loss and pesticide use have led to declines in pollinator populations.

In addition to its ecological benefits, grey field speedwell is also valued for its medicinal properties. It has traditionally been used in herbal medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin conditions. Recent scientific studies have also found that it may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential candidate for future medical treatments.

For gardeners, grey field speedwell is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to a garden. It is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, and its lovely blue-purple flowers are sure to brighten up any space. It is also a great choice for pollinator gardens, as it attracts a variety of beneficial insects.

Grey field speedwell is a beautiful and valuable plant that deserves more recognition. Its delicate blue-purple flowers, ecological benefits, and medicinal properties make it a true gem of the plant world. Whether you are a gardener, a nature lover, or a fan of herbal medicine, there are many reasons to appreciate this lovely wildflower.

Grey field speedwell is also an interesting plant from a botanical perspective. Its scientific name, Veronica polita, comes from the Latin words "vera" meaning true and "icona" meaning image, reflecting the accuracy of the plant's botanical classification. Its genus name Veronica comes from the Saint Veronica, who, according to Christian legend, wiped the face of Jesus with a cloth as he carried his cross to Calvary. The plant was believed to have healing properties, and was named after the saint.

In terms of cultivation, grey field speedwell is an easy-to-grow plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil, but it can also tolerate some drought and poor soil. It can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division, and can be used in borders, rock gardens, or as a ground cover.

As with many wildflowers, grey field speedwell is also at risk from habitat loss and degradation, as well as from the spread of invasive species. In some areas, it is considered a noxious weed and is actively managed to prevent its spread. However, in areas where it is native, it plays an important role in supporting local biodiversity.

Grey field speedwell has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin conditions. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as "Ma Bo" and is used to treat coughs, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.

The plant contains several active compounds, including iridoid glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. These compounds are believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, which may explain its traditional medicinal uses.

In addition to its medicinal properties, grey field speedwell has also been used in the production of blue dye. The plant contains a blue pigment called veronicain, which can be extracted and used to dye fabrics.

Grey field speedwell is also known to attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. Its flowers produce nectar and pollen, which provide a valuable food source for these insects. By planting grey field speedwell in your garden, you can help support local pollinator populations.

Overall, grey field speedwell is a fascinating and versatile plant that has a lot to offer. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its use in dyeing, or its role in supporting pollinators, there are many reasons to appreciate this lovely wildflower.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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