A winter annual. Naturalized from Europe. The earliest Speedwell. In cultivated soil, fields, woods, and waste places. Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to Florida and Kansas. Found in northern Ohio. April-September.

Stem

Slender, branched, diffuse, three to ten inches long.

Leaves

Lower leaves opposite, petioled, round-ovate or subcordate, crenate or crenulate, obtuse, one-eighth to one-half an inch long. Upper leaves broad-ovate, sessile, with a short-pedicellcd flower in the axil.

Flowers

Small, pale blue, striped, solitary.

Calyx

Four-parted.

Corolla

Wheel-shaped, deeply four-cleft, lower division narrowest, pale blue with darker lines.

Stamens

Two, inserted in the short tube of the corolla, flaring.

Pistil

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

Fruit

Obcordate capsule, two-celled, few-seeded.

Veronica arvensis is the earliest of the Speedwell group to bloom; along its southern range it appears in February, on Capitol Hill in Washington in early March. It there makes little beds and patches, often in company with Henbit and Chickweed. After a warm rain, when the sun is shining, numberless blue eyes are open, looking upward, but if the day is gray and cold the Speedwells doze. The plant, though an annual, is able thus early to enter the race because its seedlings get so far along the previous autumn that when the first warmth of spring comes they are ready to bloom.

The plant rises two or three inches and carpets the ground by means of its prostrate and creeping stems. The leaves are roundish, rather thick in texture, with small scalloped margins. The stems and leaves are sometimes hairy and often smooth.

Corn Speedwell. Veronica arvensis

Corn Speedwell. Veronica arvensis

The flowers are pale blue, pencilled with darker lines, and are set on short peduncles springing from the axils of the upper leaves. The corolla falls quickly; it speeds too well, especially when one tries to gather it. The plant's range is world-wide and its flowering season extended.