This section is from the book "A Manual Of Weeds", by Ada E. Georgia. Also available from Amazon: A Manual Of Weeds.
Native. Annual. Propagates by seeds.
Time of bloom: April until frost.
Seed-time: Late May until snow-covered.
Range: Nova Scotia to British Columbia, southward to the Gulf of Mexico. Habitat: Gardens, cultivated fields, grasslands, roadsides, and waste places.
This plant was named "neckweed" when it and other members of its family were considered good remedies for the scrofulous sores that often appeared on the neck; "Winter Purslane" because the abundant seed sown by the plants of the previous summer springs so suddenly into life at the disappearance of the winter's snow.
Fig. 269. - Purslane Speedwell (Veronica peregrina). X1/2.
Stem erect, smooth except for a few glandular hairs, three inches to a foot high, usually branched but may be simple. Lower leaves opposite, rather thick, long ovate or oblong, obtuse, sharply toothed, with short petioles; upper ones alternate, sessile, entire, narrowly oblong to linear, less than a half-inch in length. Flowers like the two preceding species in structure, solitary and nearly sessile in the axils, very pale blue or white, not more than a tenth of an inch broad, followed by a rounded and notched capsule larger than the flower and stuffed with many very fine yellow seeds, which are ripening and dropping into the soil all summer. (Fig. 269.)
In cultivated ground tillage should be continued later than is usual, for, if not, late-grown plants will mature enough seed to keep the ground foul. Grasslands badly infested should be put under cultivation for one or two seasons before reseeding. Cattle eat the plant readily, but it is a poor substitute for good grass or clover.