Purslane Speedwell

Purslane_Speedwell_jpgThis family (Scrophulariaceae) commonly called the Figwort or Snapdragon Family consists of 224 genera and 4,450 species of herbs and a few shrubs and trees.  Members of this family are cultivated as ornamentals including Snapdragons, Slipper-Flowers and Empress-Tree. This genus Veronica was names for Saint Veronica thought to be from the Greek vera for “true” and eicon for “image”.  An early Christian legend pictures St. Veronica pitying Christ on the way to Calvary, wiping his face with her handkerchief which received a miraculous “true image” of his features. The family name, Scrophulariaceae, refers to “The King’s Evil” scrofula.  Scrofula is marked by scrofulous tumors or strumas, swelling of the lymphatic glands of the neck.  Rich foods in a King’s diet may have contributed to this condition.  In ancient times people, including Kings, were thought to become sick because they were evil. In earlier times hemorrhoids were called figs.  In 1640 John Parkinson wrote that the tubercled roots of the Knotted Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) were “effectual for the Kings Evil, or any other knots, kernels, bunches or weenes growing in the flesh wheresoever: it is of singular good use to be applied for the hemorrhoids or piles, when they grow painefull…”.

OtherCommonName:

Nickweed, Neckweed

ScientificName:

Veronica peregrina

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

2 to 12 inches

FruitingTime:

August

Distribution:

Quebec to Florida ~ Statewide in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

April to June

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Main leaves oblong, small, irregularly toothed, smooth, without hairs ~ Flower cluster terminal ~ Flower white or whitish, small