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Spring Speedwell

Veronica verna

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres long
Fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, meadows, riversides, waterside, woodland.

Blue, 4 petals
The short-tubular flowers are blue with darker veins. Short-stalked and with leaf-like bracts. 2 white stamens.
The fruit is a flat, heart-shaped (broader than long), hairy capsule which produces about 8 flattened, yellowish-brown seeds.
An annual flower with narrowly oval to lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are short-stalked, in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are covered in sticky glandular hairs and leaf margins are scarcely toothed. The upper leaves are pinnately lobed. The stems are erect.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Veronica verna, also known as spring speedwell, is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Europe and Asia. The plant is a low growing perennial 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. It is often found growing in damp, shady places such as meadows, woodlands, and along streams. It blooms in early spring, hence the common name "spring speedwell". It is also used as a medicinal herb and a ornamental plant in the garden.


Spring Speedwell, scientifically known as Veronica verna, is a beautiful, low-growing perennial wildflower native to Europe and Western Asia. Its striking blue flowers and ability to grow in a range of habitats have made it a popular ornamental plant in gardens and landscaping.

Appearance and Characteristics

Spring Speedwell grows to a height of 10-15 cm and spreads up to 20 cm. It has small, pointed, oval leaves and produces clusters of bright blue flowers with white centers in the spring and early summer months. The flowers are about 1 cm in diameter and have four petals. The plant has a shallow, fibrous root system and prefers well-drained soil.

Habitat and Distribution

Spring Speedwell can be found growing in a variety of habitats, including meadows, grasslands, woodlands, and rocky slopes. It is most commonly found in central and southern Europe, but it has also been introduced to North America and can be found growing in the northeastern and northwestern regions.

Ecological Benefits

Spring Speedwell is a valuable plant for pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, as its flowers provide a rich source of nectar and pollen. Additionally, the plant can help prevent erosion and provide ground cover, making it useful in stabilizing soil in areas prone to landslides or erosion.

Cultural Significance

Spring Speedwell has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory issues, digestive problems, and skin conditions. It was also believed to have magical properties and was used in various rituals and spells. Today, it is primarily valued for its ornamental qualities and is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add color and beauty to their landscapes.

Growing Tips

Spring Speedwell is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. The plant can be propagated by seed or by dividing mature plants in the spring or fall. It requires little maintenance other than regular watering and occasional fertilization.

Spring Speedwell is a beautiful and versatile plant that offers numerous ecological and cultural benefits. Whether you are a gardener looking to add color to your landscape or simply an admirer of wildflowers, Spring Speedwell is definitely worth considering.

More Information

Here are a few additional facts about Spring Speedwell:

  • The genus name "Veronica" comes from the Latin "vera iconica", which means "true image", and is believed to refer to a religious legend in which a woman named Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, leaving his image imprinted on her veil.
  • Spring Speedwell is a member of the plantain family (Plantaginaceae), which also includes other popular garden plants such as Penstemon, Digitalis, and Antirrhinum.
  • In addition to its blue flowers, Spring Speedwell can also produce white, pink, or purple flowers, depending on the variety.
  • Spring Speedwell is a short-lived perennial, meaning it typically lives for only a few years. However, it readily self-seeds, meaning new plants will often appear in the same area where the original plant was growing.
  • While Spring Speedwell is generally considered a safe and non-toxic plant, some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions when handling it, so it's a good idea to wear gloves when working with the plant. Additionally, the plant is not recommended for consumption, as some species of Veronica contain potentially toxic compounds.
  • Spring Speedwell is also commonly known as "Early Speedwell" or "Bird's Eye Speedwell", due to its early flowering and the fact that its small, blue flowers resemble little bird's eyes.
  • In some cultures, Spring Speedwell is associated with love and fidelity. In ancient Greece, for example, it was believed that wearing a garland of Spring Speedwell could help a person remain faithful to their lover.
  • The leaves of Spring Speedwell are edible and have a slightly bitter, peppery taste. They can be used in salads or as a garnish, and are sometimes used as a substitute for watercress.
  • Spring Speedwell has been used medicinally for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and fever. It was also believed to have astringent and diuretic properties, and was used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
  • In addition to being a popular garden plant, Spring Speedwell has also been used in traditional folk medicine as a natural dye for fabrics. The plant contains anthocyanins, which are pigments that can produce shades of blue or purple depending on the pH of the dye bath.
  • Spring Speedwell is often visited by a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hoverflies. The flowers are particularly attractive to long-tongued bees such as bumblebees, which are able to reach the nectar deep inside the flower's tube.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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