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Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Veronica hederifolia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Veronicaceae (Speedwell)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, lawns, rocky places, wasteland.

Blue, 4 petals
4 blue petals. The subspecies 'lucorum' has lilac petals and is more common.
Small oval fruit capsule. Not hairy.
An annual carpet-forming flower with hairy, kidney-shaped leaves, 3 to 7-lobed. The leaves are positioned in opposite pairs along the stems.
Other Names:
Ivy-leaved Chickweed, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, Mother of Wheat, Small Henbit, Winterweed, Wireweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Veronica hederifolia, also known as Ivy-leaved speedwell or Ivy-leaved toadflax, is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a low-growing ground cover that produces blue or purple flowers in the spring and summer. The leaves are small, evergreen, and resemble ivy leaves. It is often used in rock gardens, as a ground cover or as an edging plant. It can also be grown in a container. It can spread by runners, and is hardy to zone 4-8. It is also drought tolerant and easy to grow.


Ivy-leaved speedwell, also known by its scientific name Veronica hederifolia, is a small, delicate herbaceous plant that belongs to the plantain family, Plantaginaceae. This plant is native to Europe but has now spread to other parts of the world, including North America and Asia. It is a popular garden plant due to its delicate and attractive appearance, and it is also found growing wild in open fields and woodland areas.

Description and Appearance

Ivy-leaved speedwell is a low-growing plant that typically reaches heights of 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) tall. It is a perennial plant that spreads out horizontally by means of trailing stems. The leaves are evergreen, and the plant remains green throughout the year, even during the winter months. The leaves are small, rounded, and have a slightly waxy appearance, with a noticeable vein pattern that gives the plant its common name, "ivy-leaved speedwell."

The flowers of the ivy-leaved speedwell are small and delicate, with four pale blue or lavender petals. The petals are arranged in a cross shape and are about 0.2 inches (5 mm) wide. The flowers bloom in early spring to mid-summer, and are usually seen in clusters of 3 to 5 on the ends of the stems.


Ivy-leaved speedwell is a popular garden plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full sunlight, but can also grow in partial shade. It is an ideal plant for rock gardens, as it grows well in crevices and between rocks. Ivy-leaved speedwell is also a great plant for ground cover, as it spreads easily and can quickly cover large areas.

Propagation of ivy-leaved speedwell can be done by seed or vegetatively through stem cuttings. Seeds should be sown in the fall or early spring, and the plants can be propagated by stem cuttings in the summer months.


Ivy-leaved speedwell has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant was used by ancient Greeks as a remedy for respiratory problems, and was also believed to have healing properties for wounds and skin irritations. In modern times, ivy-leaved speedwell is used in herbal medicine as a treatment for respiratory problems such as coughs and bronchitis.

In addition to its medicinal properties, ivy-leaved speedwell is also used as a food source for several species of butterflies and moths. The plant's delicate blue flowers attract these insects, and the leaves are a food source for their larvae.

Ivy-leaved speedwell is a charming and delicate plant that is easy to grow and maintain. With its attractive evergreen leaves and delicate blue flowers, it is an excellent choice for rock gardens and ground cover. Additionally, it has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and is still used today as a treatment for respiratory problems. Whether grown in the garden or admired in the wild, ivy-leaved speedwell is a delightful addition to any landscape.

Ecological Importance

Ivy-leaved speedwell plays an important role in the ecosystem, as it is a host plant for various insect species, including bees, butterflies, and moths. These insects feed on the plant's nectar and pollen, and some species also lay their eggs on the leaves, which serves as a food source for their larvae. This makes ivy-leaved speedwell an essential part of the food chain, as it supports the survival and growth of these insect populations.

In addition, ivy-leaved speedwell is also beneficial for soil health, as it has a deep root system that helps to prevent erosion and improves soil structure. The plant's ability to thrive in poor soils makes it a useful tool for erosion control, particularly on slopes or banks.

Cultural Significance

In many cultures, ivy-leaved speedwell has a special significance. In Greek mythology, the plant was associated with the goddess Athena, who was believed to have given it to mankind as a symbol of wisdom and peace. In Christian tradition, ivy-leaved speedwell was used as a symbol of humility and modesty, and was often featured in religious artwork.

In some European countries, ivy-leaved speedwell is considered a symbol of spring, and is used in traditional May Day celebrations. The plant's delicate blue flowers are used to create garlands and wreaths, which are worn as a symbol of rebirth and renewal.

Ivy-leaved speedwell is a beautiful and ecologically important plant that has been valued for centuries. Its delicate blue flowers, evergreen leaves, and low-maintenance growing habits make it a popular choice for gardeners, while its ability to support insect populations and improve soil health make it a valuable part of the ecosystem. Whether admired for its aesthetic qualities or appreciated for its ecological and cultural significance, ivy-leaved speedwell is a plant that has much to offer.

Medical Benefits

Ivy-leaved speedwell has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and modern scientific studies have confirmed many of its medicinal properties. The plant contains a variety of chemical compounds, including flavonoids, iridoid glycosides, and saponins, which are believed to be responsible for its therapeutic effects.

One of the main traditional uses of ivy-leaved speedwell is as a treatment for respiratory conditions, such as coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. The plant has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract and promote the expulsion of mucus.

Ivy-leaved speedwell has also been used as a diuretic, which means it helps to increase the production of urine. This can be beneficial for people who are experiencing fluid retention or who have urinary tract infections.

In addition to its respiratory and diuretic effects, ivy-leaved speedwell has been used as a treatment for a variety of other conditions, including skin problems, digestive issues, and anxiety. However, more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of these uses.


While ivy-leaved speedwell is generally considered safe, there are some precautions that should be taken. The plant should not be consumed in large quantities, as this can cause nausea and vomiting. People who are allergic to plants in the Plantaginaceae family, such as plantain or foxglove, may also be allergic to ivy-leaved speedwell.

As with all herbal remedies, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before using ivy-leaved speedwell, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any medications.


Ivy-leaved speedwell is a versatile plant that has many uses, both in traditional medicine and in the garden. Its respiratory, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable remedy for a variety of health conditions, while its attractive appearance and low-maintenance growing habits make it a popular choice for gardeners. Whether used for its medicinal or aesthetic qualities, ivy-leaved speedwell is a plant that has much to offer.


Ivy-leaved Speedwell filmed at Worthington Lakes, Lancashire on the 15th April 2023.


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