Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

American Speedwell: Veronica americana

Weed Description:  Aquatic speedwells with attractive light blue flowers that are usually partly in and partly out of the water.  American speedwell can be found in swamps or along the banks of streams and ponds.  American speedwell is somewhat rare but can be found in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Stems: Growing prostrate along the ground with the flowering tips upright (decumbent growth habit).  Stems may reach as much as 2 feet in length as they are capable of rooting at the nodes.

Leaves: Generally oval to elliptic in outline, widest at the base and pointed at the tip.  Leaves are approximately 3/4 to 2 1/2 inches long, 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide.  Leaves are usually shallowly toothed and occur on short petioles.  The leaves that occur on the upper flowering stems clasp the stem at their base.

Fruit:  A capsule.

aspeedwell5-15b.jpg (100080 bytes) Flowers:  Occur in clusters at the ends of the erect flowering stems.  Flower clusters range from 2 to 6 inches in total length and contain many small light purple to light blue flowers.  Each flower consists of 5 petals and is approximately 4 to 5 mm in total width.

Identifying Characteristics:  The aquatic growth habit, oval to elliptic leaves with petioles, and small light blue flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of American speedwell.  Water speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica) is very similar in appearance and growth habit, however this species has leaves without petioles (sessile) unlike American speedwell.  This weed may also be confused with Creeping Primrose (Ludwigia palustris), however this aquatic weed generally has some portion of the plant under water, often has red-tinged foliage, and does not have blue flowers.