Creeping Speedwell

Veronica persica Poiret

Synonyms - Veronica tournefortii, Veronica buxbaumii.

Family: - Scrophulariaceae.


Veronica was probably named to honour Saint Veronica a nun who died in Milan in 1497.

Creeping Speedwell

Other names:

Buxbaum's Speedwell


A low lying, hairy annual herb with single, blue, 4 petalled flowers on slender stalks from August to January and round toothed leaves that are opposite on the lower stem.



Two. 5-8 mm long overall. Tip rounded. Sides convex. Base squarish. Surface hairless. Petiole 2-3 mm long and shorter than the blade. The seedling has both hypocotyl and epicotyl.

First leaves:

6-10 mm long with a petiole about 3 mm long and have hairs on the upper and lower surfaces and on the petiole. The number of lateral lobes on the early leaves is variable, normally being 3 but ranging from 2 to 4. In later leaves the lobes are more numerous and subdivided.


Does not form a rosette. Lower leaves opposite and paired, the pairs being at right angles to those below. Upper leaves alternate.

Stipules - None.

Petiole - 1-10 mm long, hairy.

Blade - Egg to heart shaped, 5-23 mm long by 5-20 mm wide, many regular lobes or rounded teeth, obtuse tip. Sparsely hairy.

Stem leaves - 10-25 mm long with a short petiole and have fine hairs on the upper and lower surface, where they are rather more numerous particularly on the veins. Upper stem leaves on flowering plants are not paired.


Initially erect but later low lying often with the ends bent upwards, sprawling, weak, solid and pithy, circular in cross section, up to 600 mm long. Branch at the lowest nodes. Long multicellular and short simple hairs in lines on opposite sides of the stems following down from where the leaf is attached. Sometimes forms roots at the lower nodes. Stems often reddish brown.

Flower head:

Flowers arise singly in the axils of stalkless leafy bracts and are carried on a long, hairy stalk(peduncle) 12-30 mm long or 2-3 times as long as the leaves, forming a raceme. Peduncle has somewhat curled multicellular hairs.


Blue, 8 to 12 mm in diameter.

Ovary - Style 2mm long, thread like with a small flat topped stigma.

Sepals - 4, narrowly egg shaped to oval, joined at the base, paired and the pairs are held at a wide angle to each other. 3-5 mm long and enlarging to 7-8 mm long in fruit. Edges hairy.

Petals - 4, unequal, broadly egg shaped, 5 mm long, obtuse tipped, joined at the base, longer than the calyx. The top petal is a dark blue, the bottom petal a pale blue, and the lateral petals intermediate in tone. The petals have dark longitudinal stripes or veins. The lowest flowers may be white.

Stamens - 2, exerted.

Anthers - 2 celled.


Flattened, sparsely hairy, very broad capsule, 3-5 mm long by 7-10 mm wide, broadly notched. Shorter than the calyx and twice as wide as it is long. Persistent style is shorter than the capsule. About 12 seeds per capsule that are released through 2 valves when ripe.


About 12 seeds per capsule.


Key Characters:

Annual prostrate herb, hairy

Leaves on short petioles, ovate, toothed.

Lower leaves opposite, upper floral leaves alternate.

Flowers distant, more than 3mm long, solitary in the axils of the upper leaves on peduncles as long or longer than the leaves, in bracteate racemes.

Stamens 2, exerted.

Anthers 2 celled.

Corolla 4 spreading lobes, not distinctly 2 lipped, rotate with a short tube, blue.

Calyx deeply divided into 4 sepals.

Style long, conspicuous.

Fruiting pedicels long, 12-30 mm long.

Capsule 2 lobed, compressed, transversely obcordate in outline, loculicidal.

From J.M. Black, N.T. Burbidge and J.R. Wheeler.


Life cycle:

Annual. Seed germinates in autumn and spring.



By seed.

Flowering times:

August to January in SA.

September in Perth.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:




Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.

Origin and History:

Europe. South western Asia.



Occurs throughout Tasmania. It is less common in the Midlands than the North or the South.



Temperate. Mediterranean.


Plant Associations:




Weed of crops, vegetables, gardens, cultivation, turf, roadsides and disturbed areas.

It can be competitive in the early stages of a crop.


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:


Eradication strategies:

Prevent seed set.

Herbicide resistance:

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Blue Water Speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica)

Creeping Speedwell (Veronica plebeia)

Ivyleaf Speedwell(Veronica hederifolia) is very similar but the first leaf tends to have a shiny surface and the cotyledon is oval, the flowers are smaller and the leaves less divided.

Wall Speedwell (Veronica arvensis) has tiny blue flowers that only open on bright days.

Wandering Speedwell (Veronica peregrina)

Plants of similar appearance:

Stagger-weed (Stachys arvensis) Is similar but has more circular cotyledons and first leaves.

Dead nettle (Lamium amplexicaule) is similar but has an oval cotyledon with a distinctive semi-circular notch at its base, and long thin petioles, which are practically at right angles to the blade on both cotyledon and first leaf.


Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P222-223. Diagrams.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P771-772. Diagram.

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P330 334.

Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Cousens, R.D., Dodd, J. and Lloyd, S.G. (1997). Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. (Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia). P216-217. Photo.

Hyde-Wyatt, B.H. and Morris, D.I. (1975). Tasmanian weed handbook. (Tasmanian Department of Agriculture, Hobart, Tasmania). P81.

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1264.5.

Marchant, N.G., Wheeler, J.R., Rye, B.L., Bennett, E.M., Lander, N.S. and Macfarlane, T.D. (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P591.


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