Monday, April 11, 2011

Veronica hederifolia (Ivy-Leaved Speedwell)

Another common non-native spring flower isVeronica hederifolia (the Ivy-leaved Speedwell). One of the things I love when I learn new botanic names is the logic behind the names. The common Ivy is botanically known as Hedera helix. So it makes sense that these Veronicas with the ivy leaves has the name: hederi (ivy) folia(foliage - leaves).

This little plant likes to take over patches where it is happy:

Still, it is a very pretty flower. It has 4 petals and shows some light striping. To me, I see this flower as a white or cream.... maybe a very light blue in a certain light. Others have reported it as being a classic veronica blue (blue is a fairly rare color in flowers and veronicas are known to be one of the genus that naturally produce the color). Perhaps it is a regional thing? Interestingly enough, this is a plant that, while non-native, is not spread throughout the entire United States.

Look at those leaves, reminiscent of English Ivy:

Also notice the hairs. The entire plant is covered in tiny hairs!

Although this plant grows in large patches and grows fairly long stems, it is still pretty small, as you can see below with my hand for scale:

V. hederifolia blooms from April to June in this area. It is a common "wasteland" weed and usually shows up in disturbed lawns or areas.

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