Thyme-Leaved Speedwell

Thyme-leaved_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. The name of this genus (Veronica) has been attributed to Saint Veronica, the woman who wiped Jesus’s face when he fell while carrying the cross on the road to Calvary, and her towel preserved the  image of His face. The name “Speedwell”  is said to be derived from the characteristic of these plants grow by the waysides and quickly spread. Thyme-Leaved Speedwell can be found on moist, open, disturbed ground of waste places, lawns, roadsides, fields, wood edges, and meadows. In 1853 Thoreau wrote that on May 24 “The smooth speedwell is in its prime now, whitening the sides of the back road, above the Swamp Bridge and front of Hubbard’s. Its sweet pansy-like face looks up on all sides.  This and Myosotis laxa are the two most beautiful little flowers yet”.

 

OtherCommonName:

Smooth Speedwell, Spiked Speedwell

ScientificName:

Veronica serpyllifolia

Community:

Thicket

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Perennial

PlantHeight:

4 to 12 inches

FruitingTime:

June to late July

Distribution:

Statewide outside the Pine Barrens

FloweringTime:

Late April to July, some to October

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Rhizomatous ~ Creeping or prostrate lower branches ~ Leaves opposite, rounded, slightly toothed, similar to the edible spice “Thyme” ~ Flowers in elongated terminal groups, hairy, lobed, small, white