ivyleaf speedwell (Veronica hederifolia)
ivy leaved speedwell
SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS: There are no scientific synonyms for
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of ivyleaf
speedwell is Veronica hederifolia Jacq.
NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: This wildflower is an annual about 2-6" tall. A typical plant has a
central stem that branches near the base, forming multiple lateral stems
about 2-12" long that are unbranched. These stems creep along the ground
or they are weakly ascending. Each stem is light green to reddish brown,
terete, and conspicuously hairy.
Leaves: Along the lower one-third of each stem, pairs of opposite leaves
are produced, otherwise the leaves are alternate. Individual leaf blades are
¼-¾" across and a little shorter in length; they are orbicular- reniform in
shape with 3-5 shallow rounded lobes or crenate teeth along their margins.
The leaf blades are medium green with appressed hairs above and either appressed or spreading hairs below; their margins are conspicuously cili-
ate, and they have a slightly succulent texture. The petioles are the same
length or a little shorter than the leaves, light green, and conspicuously
Flowers: Individual flowers develop across from the alternate leaves on
slender pedicels about ¼-1" long. These pedicels are light green and short-
pubescent. Individual flowers are about 1/8" across, consisting of a pale
purple corolla with 4 spreading lobes, 4 green to reddish green sepals that
are almost as long as the corolla, 2 stamens with white anthers, and a 2-
celled ovary with a single short style. The corolla has several fine veins
that originate from its center; they are a darker shade of purple. The sepals
are cordate-ovate in shape, pubescent along their outer sides, and conspic-
uously ciliate along their margins. The flowers are capable of self-pollina-
Fruit/Seeds: Later, they are replaced by 2-valved seed capsules about
1/8" across (or a little more). Each seed capsule is globoid in shape,
slightly flattened, and only slightly constricted between the two valves;
its exterior is glabrous. Each capsule contains 4 seeds (2 seeds per cell).
Each small seed has a deep depression along one side.
Roots: The root system consists of a shallow branching taproot. This wild-
flower often forms colonies of plants by reseeding itself.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Ivyleaf speedwell regenerates itself by
HABITAT TYPES: Habitats consist of grassy slopes, fields, abandoned
fields, along roadsides and railroads, gardens, lawns, and waste ground.
Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Ivyleaf speedwell prefers full or partial
sun, more or less mesic conditions, and soil (possibly acidic) containing
loam, sand, or gravel. This little plant can spread aggressively by reseed-
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
to late-spring for about 2 months; some plants may bloom later in the fall.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Ivyleaf speedwell has a diffused distribu-
tion, ranging from Florida up through the mid-Atlantic states (stopping
before getting to New England), and extending west through the Ohio
Valley region into the lower mid-western states and into the lower prairie
states. It is not generally found in the far southwestern states or much of
the Rocky Mountain states and Canadian provinces. It reoccurs on the far
west Pacific coast, from California to British Columbia.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The nectar of the flowers attracts
Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), Halictid bees (Halictus spp., Lasio-
glossum spp.), and miscellaneous Syrphid flies. Insects that feed on
the foliage or suck plant juices from Veronica spp. include the stink
bug Cosmopepla lintneriana, the negro bug Corimelaena pulicaria,
and the flea beetle Longitarsus turbatus. The seeds are probably
consumed by sparrows and other birds, but there is a lack of records
to substantiate this. Cattle and other mammalian herbivores occasion-
ally feed on the foliage of these plants without apparent ill-effect.
Ivyleaf speedwell was introduced accidentally into North American
Crooked Run Valley