Veronica comosa Richter - Water Speedwell

Veronica comosa plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - Multiple from base, herbaceous, glabrous, to 50cm tall, hollow, weakly 4-angled above, erect to ascending, from thin rhizomes.

Veronica comosa youngYoung plant.

Leaves - Opposite, decussate, sessile, clasping, glabrous, lanceolate, +/-8cm long, +/-2.5cm broad, acute, upper surface pitted, (use lens to see), dull green, serrulate.

Veronica comosa leaves

Inflorescence - Axillary pedunculate racemes to +/-7cm long. Peduncle to 4cm long, glabrous. Pedicels to 5mm long, glabrous, each subtended by a linear-lanceolate bract. Bracts to -7mm long, -1.5mm broad. Flowers decussate on axis.

Veronica comosa inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla lilac to purplish with darker purple striations internally, 4-lobed(3 equal and one smaller), zygomorphic, to 7mm broad. Lobes whitish at base. The 3 equal lobes broadly ovate, 3mm broad and long. Smaller lobe to 2mm in diameter, orbicular. Throat of corolla pubescent. Stamens 2, alternating with 3 larger corolla lobes, erect. Filaments 2.5-3mm long, glabrous, whitish near base, purplish near apex. Anthers yellow-orange, .5mm long. Style 3mm long, glabrous, purplish. Ovary green, glabrous, 1mm broad and long. Calyx accrescent, 4-lobed. Tube to -1mm long. Lobes elliptic-lanceolate, acute, glabrous, 2mm long, 1.1mm broad, entire, green. Capsule slightly compressed, to +/-3.5mm broad and long, dehiscing by 4 valves, brown. Seeds many, tan, -.2mm long.

Veronica comosa flower

Veronica comosa flowerFlower close-up.

Veronica comosa fruitFruit.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - In or at the margin of lake, streams, springs, and ponds.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - Steyermark lists this plant as being the sixth most frequent plant in Ozark Springs. It is indeed common in the Ozark counties and is also found in Jackson and St. Louis Counties. The plant flowers very quickly and sets fruit in just a couple of days. Each flower only lasts about one day.
Typically the plants are glabrous but they can also have some glandular pubescence on the stems.
A synonym is V. catenata Penn.

Photographs taken off Hwy. 106, Shannon County, MO., 6-6-03, and at Pultite Spring, Shannon County, MO., 7-23-04.


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