Veronica (plant)

Last updated

Veronica chamaedrys - Kulmamailane.jpg
Veronica chamaedrys
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Tribe: Veroniceae
Genus: Veronica
Type species
Veronica officinalis
Synonyms [1]
    • Agerella Fourr.
    • Aidelus Spreng.
    • Allopleia Raf.
    • Atelianthus Nutt. ex Benth.
    • Azurinia Fourr.
    • Beccabunga Hill
    • Besseya Rydb.
    • Bonarota Adans.
    • Cardia Dulac
    • Chionohebe B.G.Briggs & Ehrend.
    • Cochlidiosperma (Rchb.) Rchb.
    • Coerulinia Fourr.
    • Cymbophyllum F.Muell.
    • Derwentia Raf.
    • Detzneria Schltr. ex Diels
    • Diplophyllum Lehm.
    • Eustachya Raf.
    • Eustaxia Raf.
    • Hebe Comm. ex Juss.
    • Hebejeebie Heads
    • Hedystachys Fourr.
    • Heliohebe Garn.-Jones
    • Leonohebe Heads
    • Limnaspidium Fourr.
    • Lunellia Nieuwl.
    • Odicardis Raf.
    • Oligospermum D.Y.Hong
    • Omphalospora Bartl.
    • Paederotella (E.Wulff) Kem.-Nath.
    • Panoxis Raf.
    • Parahebe W.R.B.Oliv.
    • Petrodora Fourr.
    • Pocilla Fourr.
    • Ponaria Raf.
    • Pseudolysimachion Opiz
    • Pygmea Hook.f.
    • Synthyris Benth.
    • Uranostachys Fourr.
    • Veronicella Fourr.
    • Zeliauros Raf.

Veronica is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Plantaginaceae, with about 500 species; it was formerly classified in the family Scrophulariaceae. Common names include speedwell, bird's eye, and gypsyweed.


Taxonomy for this genus is currently being reanalysed, with the genus Hebe and the related Australasian genera Derwentia , Detzneria , Chionohebe , Heliohebe , Leonohebe and Parahebe now included by many botanists. [2] [3] Monophyly of the genus is supported by nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and cpDNA. [4]

The taxa of the genus are herbaceous annuals or perennials, and also subshrubs, shrubs or small trees if Hebe is included. Most of the species are from the temperate Northern Hemisphere, though with some species from the Southern Hemisphere; Hebe is mostly from New Zealand.


The genus name Veronica used in binomial nomenclature was chosen by Carl Linnaeus based on preexisting common usage of the name veronica in many European languages for plants in this group. Such use in English is attested as early as 1572. [5] The name probably reflects a connection with Saint Veronica, whose Latin name is ultimately derived from Greek, Berenice. [6]


Food and medicine

Veronica americana is edible and nutritious, as are most species in the genus Veronica, and is reported to have a flavor similar to watercress. Native Americans used Veronica species as an expectorant tea to alleviate bronchial congestion associated with asthma and allergies.[ according to whom? ] The plant can be confused with skullcap and other members of the mint family. Members of the mint family have square sided stems, and Veronica species have rounded stems. [7]

Veronica sp. herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea) for treatment of disorders of the nervous system, respiratory tract, cardiovascular system, and metabolism. [8]

Ground cover

Several Veronica species and cultivars are cultivated for use as ground cover. [9]

As weeds

Several species of speedwell are sometimes considered weeds in lawns. [10] Some of the more common of these are Persian speedwell ( V. persica ), [11] creeping speedwell ( V. filiformis ), [12] corn speedwell ( V. arvensis ), [13] germander speedwell ( V. chamaedrys ), and ivy-leaved speedwell ( V. hederifolia ). It is often difficult to tell one species from another. There are five to seven species of speedwell in Michigan alone that are easily confused. [12]


Species of Veronica are used as food plants by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including the grizzled skipper.

An annual life history is known to have evolved separately several times within the genus, with up to 10% of the genus now having an annual life cycle. [14] An annual life cycle, and associated morphological traits, is an adaptation thought to have developed in response to an extremely arid or generally unpredictable environment, and may persist in Veronica due to a historic concentration and radiation of members of the genus in and from the climatically volatile Balkan Peninsula. [14]


Related Research Articles

<i>Plantago</i> Genus of flowering plants in the plantain family Plantaginaceae

Plantago is a genus of about 200 species of flowering plants in the family Plantaginaceae, commonly called plantains or fleaworts. The common name plantain is shared with the unrelated cooking plantain. Most are herbaceous plants, though a few are subshrubs growing to 60 cm (24 in) tall.

<i>Hebe</i> (plant)

Hebe is a genus of plants native to New Zealand, Rapa in French Polynesia, the Falkland Islands, and South America. It includes about 90 species and is the largest plant genus in New Zealand. Apart from H. rapensis, all species occur in New Zealand. This includes the two species, H. salicifolia and H. elliptica, that have distributions extending to South America. The genus is named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe.

Plantaginaceae Family of plants

Plantaginaceae, the plantain family, is a family of flowering plants in the order Lamiales. In older classifications it used to be the only family of the order Plantaginales, but numerous phylogenetic studies, summarized by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, have demonstrated that this taxon should be included within Lamiales.

Heath fritillary Species of butterfly

The heath fritillary is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. It is found throughout the Palaearctic from western Europe to Japan, in heathland, grassland, and in coppiced woodland. Its association with coppiced woodland earned it the name "woodman's follower" in parts of the UK. It is considered a threatened species in the UK and Germany, but not Europe-wide or globally.

<i>Veronica chamaedrys</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica chamaedrys, the germander speedwell, bird's-eye speedwell, or cat's eyes, is an herbaceous perennial species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae.

<i>Veronica arvensis</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica arvensis, common names: wall speedwell, corn speedwell, common speedwell, rock speedwell, field speedwell, is an annual flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. The species is a native European plant and a common weed in gardens, pastures, waste places and cultivated land.

<i>Veronica hederifolia</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica hederifolia, the ivy-leaved speedwell, is a flowering plant belonging to the family Plantaginaceae. It is native to Eurasia and it is present in other places as an introduced species and a common weed. It is an annual herb growing from a taproot and producing a hairy, spreading stem up to about 60 centimetres (24 in) long. The stem is lined with rounded leaves with blades which are divided shallowly into three to five lobes and borne on petioles. Solitary blue flowers occur in leaf axils, each with a corolla up to one centimetre (0.4 in) wide. The fruit is a dehiscent capsule.


Littorella is a genus of two to three species of aquatic plants. Many plants live their entire lives submersed, and reproduce by stolons, but some are only underwater for part of the year, and flower when they are not underwater.

Arvensis, a Latin adjective meaning in the fields, may refer to:

<i>Veronica filiformis</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica filiformis is a species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae. It is known by many common names, including slender speedwell, creeping speedwell, threadstalk speedwell and Whetzel weed. It is native to eastern Europe and western Asia, and it is known in many other regions as an introduced species.


The Antirrhineae are one of the 12 tribes of the family Plantaginaceae. It contains the toadflax relatives, such as snapdragons. They are probably most closely related to the turtlehead tribe (Cheloneae) and/or a large and badly resolved core group of their family including plants as diverse as water-starworts (Callitriche), foxgloves (Digitalis), and speedwell (Veronica). The Antirrhineae include about 30 genera with roughly 320 species, of which 150 are in genus Linaria. The type genus is AntirrhinumL.

<i>Veronica plebeia</i> species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica plebeia, commonly known as creeping- or trailing speedwell, is a plant belonging to the family Plantaginaceae native to Australia and New Zealand.

<i>Veronica strictissima</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica strictissima, the Banks Peninsula hebe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae. It is only found on Banks Peninsula in New Zealand.

<i>Veronica alaskensis</i>

Veronica alaskensis, known as Alaska speedwell or northern kittentails, is a flowering plant in the genus Veronica of the family Plantaginaceae. It was first formally named in 1933 by Francis W. Pennell and was transferred to the genus Veronica in 2004. Veronica alaskensis is native to Alaska and Yukon.

<i>Veronica alpina</i> Species of plant in the genus Veronica

Veronica alpina, the alpine speedwell or alpine veronica, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Veronica, native to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroes, Svalbard, most of Europe, parts of Siberia, northern Pakistan, the western Himalayas, and Tibet. It is the namesake of the Veronica alpina species complex, which also includes V. bellidioides, V. copelandii, V. cusickii, V. nipponica, V. nutans, V. stelleri and V. wormskjoldii.

<i>Veronica jovellanoides</i> Species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae

Veronica jovellanoides, commonly known as Riverhead speedwell, is a threatened flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae. It is endemic to New Zealand and is currently only known to be found in the Ernest Morgan Reserve, a 20ha forest northwest of Auckland, where it was discovered in 2007.


  1. "Veronica L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  2. Thompson, Ken (20 Jan 2011). "Don't judge a plant by appearances". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  3. "Hebe or Veronica". Our Changing World. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  4. Albach & Meudt, D.C. & H.M. (2010). "Phylogeny of Veronica in the Souther and Northern Hemispheres based on plastid, nuclear ribosomal and nuclear low-copy DNA". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 54 (2): 457–471. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.09.030. PMID   19796701.
  5. "veronica", Oxford English Dictionary, online edition.
  6. Ernest Klein, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Elsevier 1967
  7. Tilford, G. L. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West. ISBN   0-87842-359-1 [ page needed ]
  8. Vogl, Sylvia; Picker, Paolo; Mihaly-Bison, Judit; Fakhrudin, Nanang; Atanasov, Atanas G.; Heiss, Elke H.; Wawrosch, Christoph; Reznicek, Gottfried; Dirsch, Verena M.; Saukel, Johannes; Kopp, Brigitte (2013). "Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine—An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 149 (3): 750–71. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. PMC   3791396 . PMID   23770053.
  9. Klett, J. E. and R. A. Cox. Ground Cover Plants. Fact Sheet no. 7.400. Colorado State University Extension. 2009.
  10. Corn Speedwell. TurfFiles.
  11. Persian speedwell. Weed Gallery. U.C. Davis.
  12. 1 2 Creeping Speedwell. MSU Turf Weeds. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University.
  13. Corn Speedwell. MSU Turf Weeds. Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University.
  14. 1 2 Wang, J.C., Pan, B.R., & Albach, D.C. (2016). "Evolution of morphological and climatic adaptations in Veronica L. (Plantaginaceae)". PeerJ. 4: e2333. doi:10.7717/peerj.2333. PMC   4991887 . PMID   27602296.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. Gibson, E. Rare plant in forest has botanists bamboozled. New Zealand Herald. 10 November 2009.