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Marsh Speedwell

Veronica scutellata

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
Bogs, ditches, fens, fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, marshes, meadows, ponds, riversides, waterside, wetland, woodland.

White, 4 petals
The flowers appear in spikes and are white, often tinged blue. The flowers are 5 to 6mm across with 2 stamens. Pollinated by flies.
A flat, roundish, deeply notched capsule.
A perennial species with short, narrow, minutely toothed leaves. The leaves are stalkless and in opposite pairs.
Other Names:
Grassleaf Speedwell, Skullcap Speedwell.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Veronica scutellata, also known as marsh speedwell or skull-cap speedwell, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia. The plant is a perennial herb with creeping, woody stems that can root at the nodes. It has small, blue, white or pink flowers that are borne in clusters on spikes. The leaves are opposite, simple, and ovate and are often covered with a bluish-white waxy coating which gives a bluish-green coloration. It is often found growing in damp, marshy places such as meadows, wet woodlands, and along streams. The common name "Skull-cap speedwell" refers to the shape of the calyx, which is hemispherical and covers the corolla like a skullcap. It is also used as a medicinal herb and a ornamental plant in the garden.


Marsh Speedwell, also known as Veronica scutellata, is a perennial wildflower that belongs to the plant family Plantaginaceae. This beautiful plant is native to wet meadows, marshes, and other wetland habitats across much of North America. Marsh Speedwell is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain, making it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers.

Physical Characteristics

Marsh Speedwell is a small plant that typically grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches. The stems are slender and slightly hairy, with leaves that are narrow and oval-shaped. The flowers are small and delicate, with four petals that are usually blue or purple, but can also be white or pink. The flowers bloom from late spring to early summer and attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.


Marsh Speedwell is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types, but it prefers moist or wet soils. It can tolerate partial shade, but it will grow best in full sun. Marsh Speedwell is an easy plant to grow from seed, and it can also be propagated by dividing established plants in the spring or fall.


Marsh Speedwell is a beautiful addition to any garden or landscape, and it is commonly used in rain gardens, wet meadows, and other wetland habitats. It is an excellent choice for attracting pollinators, and it can also be used to help control erosion in wet areas. In addition to its aesthetic and ecological value, Marsh Speedwell has been used for medicinal purposes in traditional medicine for centuries. It is said to have astringent and diuretic properties, and it has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections and digestive disorders.

Marsh Speedwell is a beautiful and hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. Its delicate blue or purple flowers and its ability to attract pollinators make it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. Its ecological and medicinal value also make it an important plant to preserve and protect in its native habitats.

Ecological Importance

Marsh Speedwell plays an important role in wetland ecosystems by helping to control erosion and improve water quality. Its root system helps to stabilize soils, preventing erosion and sedimentation. In addition, Marsh Speedwell absorbs excess nutrients and pollutants from the water, improving water quality and reducing the risk of harmful algal blooms.

As a member of the Plantaginaceae family, Marsh Speedwell is also an important food source for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for these pollinators, which in turn helps to support other species in the ecosystem, such as birds and mammals.

Medicinal Properties

Marsh Speedwell has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Native American and European herbal medicine. The plant is said to have astringent and diuretic properties, and has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory infections, digestive disorders, and skin irritations.

Modern research has confirmed some of the traditional uses of Marsh Speedwell. For example, studies have shown that the plant has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help to reduce inflammation and protect against cellular damage. Marsh Speedwell also contains compounds that have been shown to have antimicrobial activity, suggesting that it may have potential as a natural antibiotic.

Marsh Speedwell is a fascinating plant that has a lot to offer. Its ecological and medicinal value make it an important plant to preserve and protect, both in its native habitats and in cultivation. Whether you are a gardener, a naturalist, or a lover of traditional medicine, Marsh Speedwell is definitely a plant worth exploring.

Cultural Significance

Marsh Speedwell has been valued for centuries for its cultural and spiritual significance. In Native American cultures, the plant was often used in sacred ceremonies and as a source of medicine. The Menominee tribe used a tea made from the plant to treat coughs and colds, while the Navajo used it to treat menstrual cramps and other reproductive issues. The plant was also used in European herbal medicine, where it was believed to have a variety of medicinal properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Marsh Speedwell has been used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscapes. Its delicate flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers who want to add a touch of beauty to wetland habitats.

Conservation Status

Despite its cultural and ecological importance, Marsh Speedwell is not currently listed as threatened or endangered. However, like many wetland plants, it is vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation due to human activities such as land development, agriculture, and pollution. As wetlands continue to be drained and degraded, the survival of Marsh Speedwell and other wetland species is increasingly at risk.

To help protect Marsh Speedwell and other wetland plants, it is important to support wetland conservation efforts and to minimize human impacts on wetland habitats. This can include supporting policies that protect wetlands, supporting organizations that work to protect wetlands, and reducing our own ecological footprint by using resources responsibly and supporting sustainable practices.

In conclusion, Marsh Speedwell is a fascinating and important plant that has a lot to offer. Whether you are interested in ecology, traditional medicine, or cultural history, this beautiful plant is definitely worth exploring. By working to protect Marsh Speedwell and other wetland species, we can help to ensure that these valuable resources will be available for future generations to enjoy.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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