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Blue Water Speedwell

Veronica anagallis-aquatica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Perennial
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Bogs, ditches, marshes, meadows, ponds, riversides, swamps, waterside, wetland.

Blue, 4 petals
Pale lavender blue flowers held in spikes. Pollinated by flies.
An ovoid, swollen, very slightly (or inconspicuously) notched capsule. 3 or 4mm long.
Long, narrow leaves. The unstalked upper leaves are longer than the lower leaves. The lower leaves are often broader and short-stalked. Perennial.
Other Names:
Brook Pimpernel, Sessile Water Speedwell, Water Speedwell.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Veronica anagallis-aquatica is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae, native to Europe and Asia. It is also known as water speedwell, brooklime and blue water-speedwell. It is an annual or perennial herb that typically grows to be 20-60 cm tall, with blue or purple flowers that appear in spikes. The leaves are glossy green and are arranged opposite each other on the stem. The plant grows in wetland habitats, such as along streams, rivers and in marshes, swamps, and bogs. It is often considered a weed in some places but also it can be used in treatment of some diseases such as diarrhea, minor urinary complaints, and respiratory infections.


Blue Water Speedwell, also known as Veronica anagallis-aquatica, is a flowering plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This plant is a member of the plant family Plantaginaceae and is commonly found growing in wetlands, ditches, and along the banks of streams and rivers.

The Blue Water Speedwell is a small, herbaceous plant that grows to a height of about 30-60 cm. It has oval, toothed leaves that grow opposite to each other on the stem. The flowers of this plant are small, about 5-7 mm in diameter, and are usually blue or purple in color, although they can also be white or pink. The flowers are arranged in spikes, with each spike containing multiple flowers. The blooming period for this plant is typically from May to August.

One of the interesting features of the Blue Water Speedwell is its ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. This plant can tolerate both sunny and shady conditions and can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay. However, the Blue Water Speedwell is most commonly found growing in damp or wet soil, which is why it is often seen in wetlands and along the banks of streams and rivers.

Blue Water Speedwell has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and digestive problems. Today, it is still used in some herbal remedies and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Blue Water Speedwell also has ecological importance. It is an important source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. The plant's seeds are also a source of food for birds and small mammals.

The Blue Water Speedwell is a fascinating plant that is well-adapted to a variety of environmental conditions. Its beautiful blue or purple flowers make it a popular ornamental plant in gardens and it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Additionally, its ecological importance as a source of food and habitat for pollinators and other wildlife cannot be understated.

One interesting aspect of the Blue Water Speedwell is its historical significance. The plant was once thought to have magical properties, and it was used in a variety of rituals and ceremonies. In medieval times, it was believed that the plant could protect against witchcraft and evil spirits. It was also used as a symbol of loyalty and fidelity, and was often given as a gift to loved ones.

Today, the Blue Water Speedwell is often used in landscaping and gardening. It is a popular choice for creating ground cover in moist areas, and it can also be grown in rock gardens or as a border plant. Its small size and delicate flowers make it an attractive addition to any garden.

Another interesting fact about the Blue Water Speedwell is its role in traditional medicine. In addition to treating coughs, colds, and digestive problems, the plant was also used to treat skin conditions and wounds. It was believed to have astringent properties, which could help to stop bleeding and promote healing. Although modern medicine has largely replaced the use of the Blue Water Speedwell in traditional remedies, the plant is still used in some herbal medicines today.

In addition to its historical and medicinal uses, the Blue Water Speedwell is also an important plant in ecology. It provides food and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and small mammals. The plant's small size and adaptability make it an important part of wetland ecosystems, where it helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.

The Blue Water Speedwell is a fascinating plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine and folklore. Its delicate flowers and adaptability make it a popular choice for landscaping and gardening, while its importance in ecology cannot be overstated. Whether you are a gardener, herbalist, or nature enthusiast, the Blue Water Speedwell is a plant that is well worth getting to know.

The Blue Water Speedwell has several different common names, including Water Speedwell, Blue Speedwell, Brooklime, and European Brooklime. These names reflect the plant's preference for moist or wet soils and its tendency to grow along the banks of streams and rivers.

The Blue Water Speedwell is also sometimes used in culinary applications. Its leaves have a slightly bitter, tangy flavor that can add a unique twist to salads or other dishes. However, the plant is not commonly used in cooking, and its culinary uses are mostly limited to certain regions where it is more popular as a food.

In addition to its ecological importance, the Blue Water Speedwell is also used in some parts of the world as a natural dye. The plant's flowers can be boiled to produce a blue or purple dye that was traditionally used to color textiles.

One interesting fact about the Blue Water Speedwell is that it was once used as a source of vitamin C. The leaves of the plant are rich in ascorbic acid, which can help to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. During World War II, the plant was even cultivated in some parts of Europe as a food source to help combat the effects of food shortages.

Overall, the Blue Water Speedwell is a versatile and interesting plant that has a wide range of uses and benefits. From its historical and medicinal uses to its ecological importance and culinary applications, this plant is a valuable and fascinating part of our natural world.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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