(Veronica Americana) Figwort family

Flowers - Light blue to white, usually striped with deep blue or

purple structure of flower similar to that of V. officinalis, but

borne in long, loose racemes branching outward on stems that

spring from axils of most of the leaves. Stem: Without hairs,

usually branched, 6 in. to 3 ft. long, lying partly on ground and

rooting from lower joints. Leaves: Oblong, lance-shaped,

saw-edged, opposite, petioled, and lacking hairs; 1 to 3 in.

long, 1/4 to 1 in. wide. Fruit: A nearly round, compressed, but

not flat, capsule with flat seeds in 2 cells.

Preferred Habitat - In brooks, ponds, ditches, swamps.

Flowering Season - April-September.

Distribution - From Atlantic to Pacific, Alaska to California and

New Mexico, Quebec to Pennsylvania.

This, the perhaps most beautiful native speedwell, whose sheets

of blue along the brookside are so frequently mistaken for masses

of forget-me-nots by the hasty observer, of course shows marked

differences on closer investigation; its tiny blue flowers are

marked with purple pathfinders, and the plant is not hairy, to

mention only two. But the poets of England are responsible for

most of whatever confusion stills lurks in the popular mind

concerning these two flowers. Speedwell, a common medieval

benediction from a friend, equivalent to our farewell or adieu,

and forget - me-not of similar intent, have been used

interchangeably by some writers in connection with parting gifts

of small blue flowers. It was the germander speedwell that in

literature and botanies alike was most commonly known as the

forget-me-not for over two hundred years, or until only fifty

years ago. When the "Mayflower" and her sister ships were

launched; "Speedwell" was considered a happier name for a vessel

than it proved to be.

The WATER SPEEDWELL, or PIMPERNEL (V. Anagallis-aquatica),

differs from the preceding chiefly in having most of its leaves

seated on the stalk, only the lower ones possessing stems, and

those short ones. In autumn the increased growth of sterile

shoots from runners produce almost circular leaves, often two

inches broad, a certain aid to identification.

Another close relation, the MARSH or SKULLCAP SPEEDWELL (V.

scutellata), on the other hand, has long, very slender, acute

leaves, their teeth far apart; and as these three species are the

only members of their clan likely to be found in watery places

within our limits, a close examination of the leaves of any

water-loving plant bearing small four-lobed blue flowers, usually

marked with lines of a deeper blue or purple, should enable one

to correctly name the species. None of these blossoms can be

carried far after being picked; they have a tantalizing habit of

dropping off, leaving a bouquet of tiny green calices chiefly.

Many kinds of bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies fertilize all

these little flowers, which are first staminate, then pistillate,

simply by crawling over them in search of nectar.

ADAM AND EVE PUTTYROOT AMERICAN HOLLY facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail