Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Persian Speedwell: Veronica persica

Weed Description: A winter annual with small, light blue and white flowers and oval or round hairy leaves with round teeth.   Many similar speedwell species occur throughout most of the United States.   They are primarily weeds of lawns, turfgrass, landscapes, nurseries, and winter small grains.

Roots:  A fibrous root system.

Leaves: Usually oval-shaped, 7 to 21 mm long, 5 to 14 mm wide.  All leaves are hairy and have rounded leaf margins.   The lower leaves are arranged oppositely and occur on petioles that range from 1 to 3 mm in length.  The upper leaves that occur on the erect flowering stems are arranged alternately and do not occur on petioles (sessile).

Stems:  Stems initially grow prostrate along the ground.   Flowering stems grow more erect and may range from 4 to 12 inches in height.

Fruit:  A capsule, 4 to 5 mm long, 5 to 8 mm wide.

Flowers:  Occur singly and occur on long flower stalks.  Flower stalks arise from the area between the leaf bases and stems (leaf axils).  Flowers range from 7 to12 mm in width and are usually light blue in color with darker blue lines and a pale blue to white center.
Identifying Characteristics:   The oval-shaped, hairy leaves that are arranged oppositely below and alternately along the flowering stem and the small, light blue flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of Persian speedwell.  Prior to flowering, the speedwells are often misidentified as Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea), Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), and Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum).   However, ground ivy does not have hairy leaves like those of Persian speedwell and both henbit and purple deadnettle have leaves that are arranged oppositely along the flowering stem.  Many other Veronica species may be found in similar environments and habitats.  These species are primarily distinguished by leaf shape, leaf hairiness, leaf and flower arrangement, and flower type.