Veronica peregrina L.

Neckweed, Purslane Speedwell

Veronica peregrina plant

Family - Plantaginaceae

Stems - Glabrous to glandular pubescent, multiple from base, from fibrous roots or a small taproot, simple to branching, erect or ascending, herbaceous, often purplish below, to +/-20cm tall.

Veronica peregrina stemStem at a node.

Leaves - Opposite, decussate, green and often reddish at apex. Lower leaves petiolate. Petioles to -1cm long. Blades ovate, shallow crenate, glabrous to glandular pubescent, to 1.3cm long. Upper leaves sessile, to 2cm long, 6-7mm broad, glabrous to glandular pubescent, oblong to oblanceolate, coarsely serrate to crenate-serrate, reduced to foliaceous bracts in inflorescence.

Veronica peregrina leavesStem and leaves.

Veronica peregrina leavesLeaves.

Inflorescence - Terminal, open racemes, elongate and sometimes nearly entire length of stem. Bracts alternate, similar to leaves, reduced only toward branch tips. Flower stalks absent or <1 mm.

Veronica peregrina inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Corolla deeply 4-lobed, white, glabrous, to 4mm long. Lobes 2mm long, to 2mm broad, obtuse at apex. Stamens 2, included to slightly exserted. Style short, to .3mm long. Ovary obcordate, compressed, glabrous to glandular pubescent, green. Calyx deeply 4-lobed. Lobes 4-5mm long, 1.1mm broad, linear-oblong, glabrous, erect. Capsule to +/-4mm long and broad at apex, obcordate, glabrous to glandular pubescent.

Veronica peregrina flowerCorolla.

Fruits - 3-4 mm long, about as long as wide, heart-shaped in profile, flattened, the notch broad and moderately deep (0.2-0.5 mm), the surfaces and/or margins glabrous or glandular-hairy.

Veronica peregrina fruitsFruits.

Flowering - April - August.

Habitat - Moist ground, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is small and the flowers are inconspicuous and often overlooked. The flowers also wilt quickly when hit with hot direct sun.
This species is common throughout Missouri and can grow anywhere with moist soil.
Steyermark lists two varieties for the state. Variety peregrina is glabrous throughout, and var. xalapensis (HBK.) Pennell is glandular pubescent.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-4-03; also at Klondike County Park, St. Charles County, MO, 4-29-2015 (SRTurner).