Germander speedwell

Veronica chamaedrys
Plantain family (Plantaginaceae)


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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.

Description

Veronica chamaedrys can grow to 50 cm (20 in) tall, but is frequently shorter, with stems that are hairy only along two opposite sides. The leaves are in opposite pairs, triangular and crenate, sessile or with short petioles. The flowers are deep blue with a zygomorphic (bilaterally-symmetrical) four-lobed corolla, 8–12 mm (0.3–0.5 in) wide. The capsules are wider than they are long.

The blossoms of this plant wilt very quickly upon picking, which has given it the ironic name "Männertreu", or "men's faithfulness" in German.

Veronica chamaedrys is a common, hardy turf weed when it invades turf and lawns. It creeps along the ground, spreading by sending down roots at the stem nodes. It is propagated both by seed and stem fragments. Leaves may defoliate in the summer and winter but the stems will grow again next season. Unlike at least five other common speedwell turf weeds, such as corn speedwell (Veronica arvensis), the leaves are opposite both on the upper and lower parts of the plant. See the Veronica for special weed control considerations.

Distribution

This species is native to Europe and Asia west of the Ural Mountains. It is found on other continents as an introduced species.

Uses

Veronica chamaedrys has been used in traditional Austrian herbal medicine internally (as tea) for disorders of the nervous system, respiratory tract, cardiovascular system, and metabolism. In 18th century Britain, the plant had the reputation of being a cure for gout as well as being popular for making tea, the latter being so prevalent that the plant was nearly eradicated from London during the 18th century.

References

External links

  • Jepson Manual Treatment
  • Washington Burke Museum
  • Photo gallery

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