This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Though an Arctic plant no seeds of this common bog plant have as yet been discovered in peat or other deposits yielding such remains. It is found in Arctic Europe, N. Africa, N. and W. Asia, N. America in the Arctic and N. Temperate Zones. It occurs in every part of Great Britain except Merioneth, Linlithgow, northward to the Shetland Isles. In Yorks it is found at the height of 2200 ft. It is found in Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Hog Speedwell is a hydrophyte, or moisture-loving plant, which grows in damp places, and was probably once more frequent, but owing to drainage is now local. It grows in marshy tracts and bogs with Hog Pimpernel, Asphodel, etc, and is found by the margins of pools, lakes, as well as in ditches, brooks, and rivers, where the ground is flooded.
The habit is that of a trailer, the plant being seldom more than suberect. It gives off young shoots above the surface; the stem is subangular, smooth, and branched. A characteristic feature is to be found in the long lance-shaped-linear leaves, slightly toothed along the margin, opposite, stalkless, and smooth. In a variety the stems and leaves are hairy.
The flowers are borne on alternating racemes, which are axillary, loose, wavy, and many-flowered. The bracts or leaflike organs are lance-shaped. The flower-stalks are pendulous. The calyx is deeply cut. The corolla is wheel-shaped, white or pinkish, with purple veins. The capsule consists of two rounded lobes, which are flattened, with rounded, flat, yellow seeds.
Hog Speedwell is often 2 ft. long. The flowers open in June, July, and August. The plant is perennial, propagated by division.
The floral mechanism is like that of Ivy-leaved Toadflax, but the flowers are in axillary racemes, and the plant grows in boggy places where it is obscured by herbage, which helps to support it, and little likely to be cross-pollinated by insect agency very frequently. The corolla is white or pink, wheel-shaped, the 2 filaments are thicker in the middle, and the anthers are white. The style is drooping and white, the stigma also turned back and yellow.
Photo. A. R. Horwood - Bog Speedwell (Veronica scutellata, L.)
The capsules on turned-back flower-stalks are margined and fringed with hairs, and adapted mainly for wind dispersal.
The Bog Speedwell is a peat-loving plant, and requires a peat soil.
The second Latin name refers to the shape of the capsule, shieldlike or salver-shaped.
Essential Specific Characters: 236. Veronica scutellata, L. - Stem slender, glabrous, leaves toothed, linear-lanceolate, sessile, flowers white or pale-pink in alternate racemes, axillary, capsule of two flat, rounded lobes, fruit-stalk deflexed.