Perennial by stolons. Naturalized from Europe. Dry fields and woods. Nova Scotia to South Dakota, and south to Georgia and Tennessee. Common in northern Ohio. April-August.

Stem

Prostrate, rooting at the nodes, rising three to ten inches, pubescent.

Leaves

Pubescent, opposite, short-petioled or sessile, oblong or obovate, serrate, obtuse at apex, narrowed at base.

Flowers

Small, pale blue on a lengthening narrow raceme, several flowers in bloom at one time.

Calyx

Four-parted.

Corolla

Wheel-shaped, four-lobed, pale blue with dark lines; the lower lobe smaller and narrower than the others.

Stamens

Two, opposite, flaring.

Pistil

Ovary one, two-celled; style one; stigma two-lobed.

Fruit

Capsule obovate, compressed; seed flat.

There are many Speedwells nestling in the grass of our lawns or beside our garden walls or at the edge of cultivated fields. They seem to prefer the conditions that man makes; most of them do not wander very far afield. Having once become acquainted with the genus, one will always recognize its members though one may find it difficult to name the exact species. All carry the family mark, tiny flowers, each a little disk cut into four lobes, the lowest lobe the smallest, and two flaring stamens.

Of the twelve species appearing in our botanies ten are indisputably citizens of the world, growing in America, Europe, and Asia. They are spring and summer bloomers.

The entire group to which this species belongs are called the Flowers of St. Veronica, through some fancied resemblance of the marks on the corolla to the human features, which tradition says were imprinted upon her handkerchief when the saint wiped the face of Christ as he was bearing the cross.

Speedwell is an old word used in bidding good-by to a friend who is going on a journey. Its meaning is the same as that of farewell. It names this tiny, elusive blossom because the pretty corolla drops so soon after it unfolds that unless one takes leave of it quickly it vanishes before one has a chance to do so.

Common Speedwell. Veronica officinalis

Common Speedwell. Veronica officinalis