Veronica arvensis L.

Corn Speedwell

Veronica arvensis plant

Family - Plantaginaceae

Stems - Erect, decumbent, or sprawling, multiple from fibrous roots, to +/-15cm tall, herbaceous, hollow, villous.

Veronica arvensis stemStem.

Leaves - Opposite, petiolate below, sessile above, broadly ovate to triangular above, to +/-1cm long, 1cm broad, crenate-serrate, pubescent.

Veronica arvensis leavesLeaves.

Inflorescence - Terminal spikelike raceme. Bracts alternate, lowermost similar to foliage leaves, becoming narrowly lanceolate or oblong above. Flowers sessile or on petioles to 1 mm long.

Veronica arvensis leavesInflorescence.

Flowers - Corolla deep blue-purple, to 5mm broad. Petals 4, united at the base to form a short tube to .5mm long. Lobes of the corolla rounded. Stamens 2, erect, adnate at the base of the corolla tube. Filaments whitish, glabrous, to 1mm long. Anthers bluish and white, .3-.4mm long. Ovary superior, green, orbicular, compressed, pubescent on the margins, .5mm in diameter. Style whitish-green, -1mm long and glabrous. Calyx accrescent, deeply 4-lobed, glandular and simple hispid. Lobes oblong, typically unequal, green, rounded to subacute, to 2mm in flower (much longer in fruit). Calyx tube short, to 1 mm long.

Veronica arvensis flowerFlower close-up.

Fruits - Fruits 2.5-3.5 mm long, wider than long, heart-shaped in profile, flattened, the notch relatively deep (0.4-0.8 mm), the margins with spreading, glandular hairs. Seeds 8-12 per locule, 0.7-1.0 mm long, strongly flattened, the surfaces appearing smooth or nearly so (faintly and finely ridged and pitted), orangish brown to brown.

Veronica arvensis leavesFruit.

Flowering - March - August.

Habitat - Open rocky woods, glades, waste ground, cultivated areas, fields, pastures, lawns, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This little introduced species can be found throughout Missouri. This is one of the earlier little plants to bloom in the spring. The earliest flowers tend to be smaller than the flowers that come later in the season. This is an easy genus to ID in the field because of the small blue flowers and heart-shaped fruits. Determination to species is not difficult but requires careful attention to details of leaf shape, inflorescence morphology, and size of flowers and peduncles.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-12-03 (DETenaglia); also near St. Albans, Franklin County, MO, 4-28-2015 (SRTurner).